A Silver Alert is a public notification system to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return.
Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets — such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable TV — to broadcast information about missing persons. Silver Alerts also use variable-message signs on roadways to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors. In cases in which a missing person is believed to have gone missing on foot, Silver Alerts have used reverse 911 systems to notify nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding the missing person’s last known location.
Activation criteria for Silver Alerts vary from state to state. Some states limit Silver Alerts to persons over the age of 65, who have been medically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or similar mental disability. Other states expand Silver Alert to include all adults with mental of developmental disabilities. In general, the decision to Issue a Silver Alert is made by the law enforcement agency investigating the report of a missing person. Public information in a Silver Alert usually consists of the name and description of the missing person and a description of the missing person’s vehicle and license plate number.