SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois live with Alzheimer’s Disease and it turns out, 60% of those people will wander off at some point.
"A lot of them that wander may still have a driver's license, may still be in a vehicle, may still be on our roadways,” ISP Missing Persons Coordinator Craig Burge said. “So it creates a hardship for law enforcement to determine where these people might be located."
In 2016, the Alzheimer’s Association teamed up with law enforcement and other state agencies to help bring these loved ones home with "silver search."
"We use lottery terminals, we use Department of Transportation road boards, we use Facebook and other social media accounts,” Burge said. “So this information gets out to the public, similar to what we do in AMBER Alerts, so the public can be our eyes and ears.”
In Illinois, more and more people wander off each year. Of the 121 silver alerts that have gone out since 2016, all but one person has been found.
"This is about safety,” Olsen said. “This is about the dignity of people and making sure that they're able to be safe."