Coquitlam family continues to push for Silver Alert
The son of missing Coquitlam senior Shin Noh is encouraged about efforts to get a program in place that would help find people with Alzheimer's or dementia who go missing.
This week, more than 750 people signed a petition, available at change.org, calling for the introduction of a Silver Alert program in B.C. that would alert authorities and the media in such cases.
Sam Noh said the petition was put online by volunteers who support his efforts to promote a system that could prevent other families from losing their loved ones.
"This doesn't change our situation but it seems like a common sense solution," said Noh, who said he has sent letters lobbying for a Silver Alert program to MLAs and Coquitlam RCMP, and will meet with B.C.'s new seniors advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, this week. A private members bill for a Silver Alert program was also introduced in the legislature by Coquitlam-Maillardville NDP MLA Selina Robinson earlier this year.
For Noh, the lobbying effort is meaningful as he and his family deal with lack of closure because their Shin Noh's remains have never been found. Noh believes his dad would have been found if a Silver Alert program had been in place because Burke Mountain construction workers who saw him shortly after he left home would have known to call police right away. Instead, it wasn't until a few days later after they saw his picture in the media that they called police. By then, Noh, then 64, seemed to have disappeared.
NUMBER OF CASES GROWING
The petition notes that with the number of Alzheimer's and dementia cases increasing, a Silver Alert program is necessary to help raise awareness when people with the disease, who are known to wander, go missing.
Similar to the Amber Alert program used to alert authorities to abducted children, Silver Alert is available in several U.S. states.
But local BC Liberal MLA Linda Reimer says the province wants to do more research before making a decision on the program. Reimer said the province's new seniors' advocate is familiar with dementia issues and will be making the idea of a Silver Alert an "area of focus."
As well, the Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA said, B.C. RCMP are working with the Alzheimer Society of BC on a wandering registry and a program in Ontario to provide police with dementia training and families with a Safely Home kit is being monitored by the province to see if it's a good model for this province.
Meanwhile, Noh said he, his mother and sister miss their father, who was also a grandfather. Still, no memorial service is planned.
"We're moving forward," he said, "but we haven't yet moved on."
The Shin Noh Facebook page is available here.