silver searchSPRINGFIELD— Last year, in Georgia, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s slipped away from his home in the middle of the night and wandered into a nearby neighborhood in the cold only to be shot dead when mistaken for an intruder.

And this year in Texas, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s wandered away from his family’s home in the middle of the night in the midst of freezing temperatures. He was later found dead.

These are the tragic stories state Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is hoping to prevent through legislation she helped pass out of the Illinois Senate yesterday. Her plan would allow law enforcement, Department on Aging and local law enforcement agencies to create a statewide awareness program to help locate individuals with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases who go missing.

“It is imperative that Illinois has a coordinated plan for locating individuals with Alzheimer’s,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “We have an obligation to get individuals with Alzheimer’s who wander back home safely.”

The Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association estimates more than 200,000 Illinois residents have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Nearly one-third of those will likely wander off and the state currently doesn’t have an adequate system to alert the public.

Bertino-Tarrant discussed the need for a coordinated plan earlier this year during a meeting with the Alzheimer Association’s Illinois chapter in Springfield.

“I look forward to working with the Illinois House to bring this system to Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

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