A “Silver Alert” issued south of the border helped track down a senior man who took a wrong turn on his travels to the B.C. coast last month and ended up in the Silver City, instead.
Besides the “Silver Alert” which is a U.S. public notification system to broadcast information about missing persons, especially vulnerable seniors who may have dementia or other mental disabilities, the man’s daughter was able to narrow down the search through his banking activity.
This case began with a call to the police detachment on Dec. 29.
“The Trail and Greater District RCMP received a request to locate an 87-year-old U.S. male citizen reported missing from Reno, Nevada,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich explained.
“His daughter tracked his credit card activity to the Ray Lyn Hotel in Warfield and contacted us to go check on his well-being,” he said.
“Given his age and state of mind, we took him to the Trail hospital for a medical assessment,” Wicentowich added. “The male was reunited in Trail with Canadian relatives, and has left the area with his relatives from Aldergrove.”
While the United States alert system is public, in British Columbia the BC Silver Alert is a citizen-led effort to create an alerting system to save the lives of people with dementia, autism and other cognitive issues.
The Vancouver-based founders of BC Silver Alert say 2019 was a tragic year for seniors with dementia.
Six seniors in the Lower Mainland were found dead or were still missing as of December.
“I’m disappointed and frustrated that after six years since father’s disappearance, more isn’t being done by our province to help locate missing seniors with dementia,” said Sam Noh, co-founder of the BC Silver Alert. Noh’s father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, has been missing from his Coquitlam home since Sept. 18, 2013.
“The chances of survival decrease if not found within 24 hours. As dementia patients are typically found by a member of the public, it is imperative that the public is informed as soon as possible.”
Over the five years since the founding of the BC Silver Alert, there have been an average about 29 alerts a year. Over the same period, approximately two people per year have died or never been found.
With files from the Chilliwack Progress