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Silver Alerts Often Linked to Dementia

The latest figures show that 60-percent of elderly Hoosiers with dementia will wander off at some point.

Indiana State Police say many if not most "Silver Alerts" across the state can be traced to dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. Kristi Ritchie is Family and Community Education Specialist at the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Indiana. She says they tend to see Alzheimer's patients around the age of 65 although it can vary.

Ritchie says it's difficult to say when memory loss will cause issues for seniors and their families. She says they often hear about cases of seniors who wander off by foot or by car and end up missing. Authorities say the issue is likely to increase with the aging of baby boomers. Ritchie says it's not unusual for the subjects of silver alerts to be seen driving the wrong way on highways, local roads or walking in dangerous environments. Ritchie says at some point, it's best for family members to take away their loved one's car keys or even disable their vehicles.

She says it's a good idea for family members to know their loved ones' license plate numbers and have plenty of up to date cell phone photos of them so they can send them to authorities if they're ever subjects of silver alerts. Ritchie says more information is available at 1-800-272-3900 or alz.org.

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