The fear for a loved one wandering or becoming lost is a frightening thought for anyone who cares for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementia, or other cognitive impairment. Wandering is one common challenge for anyone living with a diagnosis. In these instances, although people with dementia are often found within a distance of less than 2 miles, time is of the essence.
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 a partner in that effort.
As part of the State Alzheimer’s Plan in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the Silver Alert Law was passed by state legislatures and is being implemented through the Department of Public Safety. Silver Alert, a state based program existing in many states in the US, is a public notification system used to disseminate information about missing persons in order to aid in their quick recovery, specifically older adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments who may wander. This system allows local searching to begin immediately upon the receipt of a missing person report, waiving any waiting period. For more info: read the bill here (MA) and here. (NH)
Additionally, law enforcement personnel in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire receive dementia training developed in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information:
Silver Alert: Heather Carroll: firstname.lastname@example.org
Law Enforcement and First Responder Training Programs: Ronda Randazzo: email@example.com
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about trainings in New Hampshire, please email Heather Carroll, Manager of Public Policy, Alzheimer’s Association at email@example.com.