Wandering impacts families and caregivers statewide, affecting those who suffer with various mental conditions, to include Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. The state's Silver Alert program was created by Texas legislation in year 2007, designed to notify the public of missing older adults with a documented mental condition.
The below represents Silver Alert criteria for the state's network:
- Is the missing person 65 years of age or older?
- Does the senior citizen have a diagnosed impaired mental condition, and does the senior citizen's disappearance pose a credible threat to the senior citizen's health and safety? (Law enforcement shall require the family or legal guardian of the missing senior citizen to provide documentation from a medical or mental health professional of the senior citizen's condition).
- Is it confirmed that an investigation has taken place verifying that the senior citizen's disappearance is due to his/her impaired mental condition, and alternative reasons for the senior citizen's disappearance have been ruled out?
- Is the Silver Alert request within 72 hours of the senior citizen's disappearance?
- Is there sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the senior citizen? (Highway signs will be activated only if accurate vehicle information is available AND it is confirmed that the senior citizen was driving the vehicle at the time of the disappearance).
Note: A physician's letterhead, indicating the impaired mental condition, date of diagnosis, patient's name, with physician's signature is recommended to satisfy the documentation requirement.