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New Washington law will allow Silver Alerts for missing seniors

OLYMPIA – The state will use its highway reader signs and radio advisory stations to notify motorists and their passengers about missing seniors who have wandered away from home and may be in danger, under a bill signed into law Wednesday.

Known as a Silver Alert, the state will send out a message through its roadway systems when a person over age 60 with Alzheimer’s or dementia is missing and believed to be unable to return without assistance.

It’s patterned after the Amber Alert system for missing or abducted children, although it doesn’t have the full scope of that system, which includes radio and television, cable and satellite systems and some cellphone alerts.

Wandering is a predictable aspect of age-related dementia, Rep. Sherry Appleton, the bill’s sponsor said, and 41 other states already have similar systems to help find confused and disoriented seniors. Passed during the first special session, Silver Alerts will be available later this year.


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