The Effect of Wandering: Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts

October 6, 2014 | Abram's Nation

When it comes to a missing person, every second counts. Whether it is a child or adult, action must be taken in order to retrieve them. Fortunately, with the use of Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts, we are able to essentially expand the search committee and have more eyes looking for that missing child or adult. So what is the difference between an Amber Alert and Silver Alert?

Amber Alert: An urgent bulletin, often displayed over local television networks, that informs the community that there is a missing or abducted child.

Silver Alert: An urgent notification system that broadcasts information about missing adults, usually senior citizens.

An Amber alert is generally issued if a child has been abducted but in the case of special needs often times the child has wandered or eloped from their home or caregiver. Children suffering with wandering or sleeping issues can be a very scary ordeal for the parents or caregiver. With nearly 32% percent of parents reporting a “close-call” from their autistic children coming close to drowning due to wandering, it is becoming more and more crucial to take the proper steps in preventing injury or harm. So how can you prevent and respond to wandering issues?

  • Understand their wandering and eliminate triggers
  • Teach your child about wandering dangers
  • Share your child’s photo with local police and fire departments
  • Secure your home with locks and alarm systems
  • Use a tracking device or personal locator
  • Buy ID bracelets and place phone numbers in shoes and belt
  • Enroll in swimming lessons
  • Alert neighbors and local first responders
  • Talk with others who are living with a child with wandering/sleeping issues
  • Purchase an enclosed bed to safely secure your child at night

Accordingly, Silver Alerts with seniors are generally issued to those who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Commonly, those that begin to wander aren’t thought of to have the disease because they are in the early onsets. Being aware of those early onsets is an important first step to preventing injury or harm. Here are a few other steps to take to prevent injury to those that wander due to Alzheimer’s or Dementia:

  • Create a safe environment with no sharp objects
  • Have a guardian around during stressful times of their day
  • Create a familiar, comfortable environment to prevent confusion
  • Alert neighbors that they are prone to wandering
  • Speak with doctors and professionals for additional resources
  • Secure them at night with an enclosed bed system to prevent night time wandering

Wandering can be a scary situation for autistic children and adults with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. There are many resources available for caregivers and family members take seriously to help provide protection against harm.