Caring for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is often a 24/7 job. No matter how vigilant the care-partner, a person with Alzheimer’s can wander and become lost. It happens to 60 percent of those living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee volunteer advocates helped pass a new law to improve Tennessee’s response to wandering and lost seniors. Since the Volunteer State’s enhanced Silver Alert System took effect in June of 2021, more than 50 lost seniors have been reunited with their families. The alert system has been used in Coffee County.

The system works best when every Tennessean knows to be on the lookout. To help raise awareness, the Tennessee Legislature designated May of 2022 as Silver Alert Awareness Month.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee is taking this opportunity to reach out to everyone in the Volunteer State. We have developed a “Silver Alert Kit” to help care-partners prepare in case a loved one wanders. The kit contains tips to reduce the risk of wandering and tools to assist first responders search for a lost adult. The goal is to ensure care-partners are able to gather their thoughts, photos and lifesaving information before a loved one wanders, instead of during an emergency. To get a Silver Alert Kit, go to www.alzTennessee.org/SilverAlert.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee appreciates every member of the Legislature for passing this life-saving law with unanimous votes. Sen. Becky Massey was the Prime Senate Sponsor and Rep. Jeremy Faison was the Prime Sponsor in the House.

“Obviously Alzheimer’s Tennessee has a vast reach across the state,” Tennessee Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Newport) shared. “We all know how important grassroots efforts can be. When I was 13-years old, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so this is near and dear to my heart.”

With the full support of Governor Lee and the legislature, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) created a statewide Silver Alert protocol, providing clear instructions and fostering cooperation among law enforcement agencies, stakeholders and media to respond to calls of vulnerable, missing adults who may be disoriented and incapable of finding their own way home.

Grassroots advocacy saves lives. Alzheimer’s Tennessee invites everyone to be a “VOICE” for the 120,000 Tennesseans living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Many have been silenced by this disease. Advocates share their stories and speak up for their needs and rights. Please visit www.alzTennessee.org/advocacy to learn more.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee, your local 501(c) 3 non-profit headquartered in Tennessee, has six regional offices to provide education for the community, family caregivers and healthcare professionals.

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