Silver Search Shines

About 230,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease live in Illinois, and many will wander away at some point. But thanks to Silver Search, a collaborative statewide effort, not all who wander are lost. 

Some 400 people with dementia have gone missing in the state over the past five years, but 95% have been found through Silver Search, says Craig Burge, missing persons coordinator for the Illinois State Police.

The donor-funded program is a cooperative effort between the Illinois State Police, Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Tollway Authority, Illinois Department on Aging, Illinois Broadcasters’ Association, and other organizations. 

The groups pool their resources to quickly alert the public that someone is missing, tapping tollway digital signs, lottery kiosks, radio and television announcements, and social media.

“Illinois was a pioneer in getting all these entities and agencies to work together as one,” Burge says.

He urges caregivers of people with dementia to be prepared for an emergency by having a current photo of their loved one on hand, writing down their license plate number, and knowing the places the person likes to go.