Submitted by Meg Dickens
Advocates, seniors, and local government officials came together at the Johnson County Senior Center on Wednesday, October 13, to celebrate the success of “life-saving legislation” centered on those with Alzheimer’s disease. Regional Director of Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Tracey Kendall Wilson, led the festivities. The visit was one of several stops that Wilson made to thank government advocates for their efforts, focusing on State Representative Scotty Campbell this time. The Center also honored Wilson for her work.
Each spring, Alzheimer’s Tennessee sends a group of volunteers to Nashville to become the voice of Alzheimer’s patients to the state government. The Johnson County Senior Center was chosen for 2021, and members loaded up in the wee hours of the morning and made their way to “the Hill” for Legislative Day. Much to Alzheimer’s Tennessee and its supporters’ pleasure, the Silver Alert legislation advocates had been lobbying for officially went into effect this July after passing unanimously.
“This gives law enforcement a great way to work across state lines,” Campbell explained. “Silver Alert is a great program, and I’m proud to be a part of helping.”
For those unfamiliar with Silver Alert, the program is similar to AMBER Alert. The main differences revolve around the age demographic and time frame. Silver Alert focuses on those who wandered off because of “dementia, physical impairment, or disability” and is issued after a minimum of four hours. According to Wilson, many missing seniors may be nearby.
According to Alzheimer’s, Tennessee, 120,000 people in the state currently have Alzheimer’s disease. Statistics show that six in ten people affected will wander off at some point. This legislation focuses on the prevention and preparation for the eventual development. Other resources are available in neighboring areas but have not made their way to Johnson County yet, including Project Lifesaver. This project includes GPS technology through an item such as a wristwatch or bracelet. For more information about Alzheimer’s resources, visit alzTennessee.org, call the Helpline at 1-800-259-4283.
Find out more about the Johnson County Senior Center and its resources at (423) 727-8883, or visit johnsoncountyseniorcenter.com, or through social media.