The U.S. House of Representatives passed new legislation this week that creates a national system to search for missing seniors, mirrored on the successful Amber Alert program.
Congressman Lloyd Doggett authored the National Silver Alert Act, which passed the House on a voice vote.
"As more Americans approach their golden years, National Silver Alert can provide some reassurance. Reuniting missing seniors with their families requires a rapid, united response," said the Texas Democrat.
The new bill authorizes up to $10 million in state grants to develop and maintain Silver Alert programs.
A Silver Alert Coordinator position will be created at the Department of Justice, which will consult with other federal agencies to develop policies for the program.
Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) was one of the original organizations that endorsed the act and said it would help law enforcement locate missing seniors.
"This legislation will help protect seniors living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia," said ALFA president and CEO Richard P Grimes.
An estimated 5.2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Alzheimer's disease and approximately 3 million will wander away at some point, according to the Alzheimer's Foundation. Wandering is a symptom of the disease.