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USF Hosts Panel on National "Silver Alert" System

Florida Silver Alert

Most Florida drivers have seen a "Silver Alert" -- those notifications on electronic road signs warning you about missing, at-risk senior citizens.

What you may not realize is that there are actually two problems with this system: it just focuses on missing seniors who are in their vehicles, and it's only at the statewide level (over 30 states have programs similar to Florida's), as multiple efforts by lawmakers to set up a national program have failed for a variety of reasons.

The USF Memory Disorders Clinic and the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute are trying to put together a national plan that focuses on ALL missing seniors -- including those who wander away from their residences or loved ones on foot.

"Senior Alert For Effective Return of Older Adults with Dementia" or "SAFEROAD" is inviting the public, senior service providers, and local law enforcement to a presentation tomorrow, May 3.

"We're going to have expert panels from people who are nationally known in the field of wandering and getting lost and dementia," said Dr. Larry Schonfeld, Interim Director of the  Florida Mental Health Institute. "We're trying to get a consensus of what are the best approaches by which law enforcement, the public and the aging services networks can all pull together to go into action once a person becomes lost."

The meeting is at 9 a.m. Friday at the USF Westside Conference Center at 13301 Bruce B. Downs in Tampa. Space is limited, please RSVP by calling Claire at 813-974-5951. Free mental health screenings will be available after the event for interested senior citizens.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.