A number of new laws are set to go into effect January 1, 2013, including a new alert system aimed at protecting the growing senior population.According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six out of eight people suffering from Alzheimers Disease or Dementia will wander at least once.”The elderly is our most quickly growing part of our population. That means the numbers are growing exponentially, and our community really needs to be prepared,” explains Barbara Finch, the Santa Barbara County Adult and Aging Network Director.The Silver Alert is a notification system, aimed at making sure a person is returned home safely.”Folks who wander can’t make it back on their own without assistance,” says Finch.”If they’re not found in a 24 hour period, the chances they’ve suffered a problem or are dead, increase dramatically,” adds Donna Beal, with the Alzheimer’s Association.It is essentially the same as an Amber Alert, but for elderly adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or other mental disability.C.H.P. Officer James Richards says, “the plan calls to use amber alert technology that’s already in place, and what we’ll use is media outlets and traffic road signs and we’ll get the message out. We’ll get out license plate information, vehicle information, a description of the missing person, and the hope is we get the public engaged and get the person home safely.”Officials can also use a reverse 911 alert system to notify residents in a targeted neighborhood.”It really creates state wide networks. So, it is not just the Santa Barbara community, but the whole state looking for this person.”For more information, you can go to alz.org/cacentralcoast
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