Opinion

National Silver Alert Act could save lives

An editorial from the Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — It’s hard to watch our loved ones age. It’s heartbreaking to watch their mind leave them as they become a shell of the person they once were.

We see the face we have known for many, many years, the hands that held our own, the arms that were once strong enough to lift us. But they don’t remember those days; they don’t remember where they live or how to contact us in case of emergency. They become confused, combative even, as they struggle to find sense in the fog of their own minds.

It’s hard for the caretakers, whether they be spouses, children or grandchildren. But for the past five years in West Virginia, there has been a safety net for these seniors in the event of wandering. The Silver Alert system was put in place in West Virginia in 2009 and coordinates efforts of local law-enforcement agencies to locate a missing senior.

This successful program has the chance to go nationwide if proposed legislation passes.

On Tuesday, U.S. senators from across the country, including Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., introduced the National Silver Alert Act. This piece of legislation could create a nationwide network for locating missing adults and senior citizens…

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