Silver Alert

For families and caregivers
For police and other first responders
Are you a police officer or other first responder? Learn about training.
Family and caregivers: Learn about Silver Alert here.
Wandering

The fear of a loved one wandering or becoming lost is a frightening thought for anyone who cares for a person with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or other memory impairments. Wandering is one of the most common behaviors in persons with Alzheimer's or a related dementia.

Programs exist in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire to help law enforcement officers and others work effectively to locate wandering persons. The Alzheimer's Association is part of that effort.

As part of the Massachusetts State Alzheimer’s Plan, the Silver Alert Law was passed by the state legislature and is being implemented through the Department of Public Safety. This allows law enforcement to activate resources in the event someone with cognitive impairment is reported as missing. For more info: read the bill here

Gov. Hassan signs bill Our chapter also provides separate training at the New Hampshire Police Academy. The state's original 2009 Silver Alert legislation was updated in 2016, and Gov. Maggie Hassan joined Alzheimer's Association public policy manager Heather Carroll (left), other Alzheimer's Association advocates and legislators from both parties to sign Senate Bill 487. The bill establishes a public notification system to broadcast information about missing vulnerable adults— specifically older adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments who may wander — in order to aid in their quick recovery. The program provides for coordinating searches with local media, first responders, caregivers and families.

Twenty-seven states have Silver Alert or similar programs targeting missing seniors. Modeled after the highly successful AMBER Alert program run by the Massachusetts State Police, Silver Alert will ensure that the critical communications infrastructure is utilized to coordinate and focus search efforts of numerous state and local agencies, as well as civilian organizations, when responding to an incident involving an adult with serious memory impairment.

Such missing persons are now required to be treated as high-risk and responded to by the police department of the community where they were last seen. The State Police as well as the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) are also integral to Silver Alert. The State Police offers technical support, training and additional personnel to aid in a search and the EOEA works to ensure oversight of the Silver Alert program for the Commonwealth. In Addition, Public Policy, Patient Services and Program staff from the Alzheimer's Association work with EOEA, State and local police as part of the Silver Alert program, assisting with training and updates on Alzheimer's disease, technology and wandering prevention.

As with any potential crisis, education and planning are key to prevention. Rather than risking the well-being of a loved one, there are tools and resources are available to you. Talk to a counselor on our Helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1.800.272.3900. Measures can be taken both before and during an event in which someone wanders. You can also contact the Alzheimer's Association, MA/NH Chapter and your local law enforcement for information and events related to wandering and Silver Alert.

This video, produced a few years ago by Bay Cove Human Services, examines the Massachusetts Silver Alert program.



Tip: Learn about our MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return® program.


As part of the Massachusetts State Alzheimer’s Plan, the Silver Alert Law was passed by the state legislature and is being implemented through the Department of Public Safety. This allows law enforcement to activate resources in the event someone with cognitive impairment is reported as missing.

For more info: read the bill here

Massachusetts Police Training:

To further enhance the Massachusetts Silver Alert Law, the Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH Chapter created a training program in collaboration with state law enforcement. All MA veteran police officers, totaling about 10,000 Officers, are required to participate in this 3-hour training as part of their mandatory education.

Police officer with family member

In August 2016, the Alzheimer’s Association trained about 90 Certified Police Instructors, who will in turn train all Veteran Officers throughout the entire state. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association trained 250 Chiefs of Police at their annual conference in September 2016. The Police Trainers are now responsible to train all departments statewide by June 2017. The Alzheimer’s Association partnered with Law Enforcement to create the 3-hour training which was accepted by the Municipal Police Training Committee as meeting identified education requirements.

Training for other First Responders (EMTs, Fire, etc.)

The Alzheimer’s Association has developed several curricula for other First Responders and is able to offer options for First Responder trainings across Massachusetts. Here are 3 different types available:

  • Online First Responder 1:1 training: Free and available to any individuals to complete online. Takes about 2 hours per First Responder to complete. Located here: training.alz.org
  • Train the Trainer: Free to any First Responders; 4-hour class. We train peer First Responders who serve as trainers. The curriculum is provided to the trainers who will then deliver the training to their department.
  • In-person Direct Training: 2-hour class delivered by Alzheimer’s Association using contracted trainers. (There is a nominal fee to cover the cost of the trainers).

New Hampshire Police Training:

Gov. Hassan signs bill Our chapter also provides separate training at the New Hampshire Police Academy. The state's original 2009 Silver Alert legislation was updated in 2016, and Gov. Maggie Hassan joined Alzheimer's Association public policy manager Heather Carroll (left), other Alzheimer's Association advocates and legislators from both parties to sign Senate Bill 487. The bill establishes a public notification system to broadcast information about missing vulnerable adults— specifically older adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments who may wander — in order to aid in their quick recovery. The program provides for coordinating searches with local media, first responders, caregivers and families.


For questions about trainings in Massachusetts, please email Ronda Randazzo, Manager of Education, Alzheimer’s Association at randazzo@alz.org.

For questions about trainings in New Hampshire, please email Heather Carroll, Manager of Public Policy, Alzheimer’s Association at hcarroll@alz.org.