Chris Shirai, Board Chair, for the Alzheimer’s Association, Elizabeth Stevenson, Incoming Executive Director / CEO and Arlene Ige, Education & Training Coordinator / Office Manager in attendance joined Representatives Finnegan, Pine, Ching, Marumoto, Thielen and Ward in a press conference
The bill is modeled after the Amber Alert Programs that are present in all 50 states. The Silver Alert programs are targeted for adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. According to the National Association of State Units on Aging, as of May 2008, 7 states currently have Silver Alert programs in place. Those are Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia; while two other states have legislation pending.
Hawaii‘s Maile Amber Alert is a voluntary partnership between the county police departments, State Civil Defense, local broadcasters and other state agencies. The republican legislation simply calls for the integration of a Silver Alert program with the currently existing Maile Amber Alert program.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2008 study, “2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures”, in the year 2000, the approximate number of people aged 65 and over who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease was 23,000. They estimate that by 2010, this number will increase by 17%, to 27,000.
The bill mandates the development and implementation of a silver alert program amongst the current Maile Amber Alert participants. It calls for integration with Maile Amber Alert program and sets forth criteria for issuance of Silver Alert. It is design for people who are 65 or older and our Hawaii residents. The system can be used for documentable impaired mental conditions and the authorities must have sufficient information that the person’s disappearance constitutes a credible threat to health and safety of a senior citizen.