My father would have been found and at home with us today, if the Silver Alert was in place in B.C. The construction worker and fellow church member who saw him, would have known he was missing if a Silver Alert was issued. Although we received wide spread media attention, it took a couple of days to get the word out. Time is of the essence when an Alzheimer patient wanders, which was evident in my dad’s case.
Currently, there is no official search organization or strategy in place for Alzheimer’s patients who wander. Search and Rescue specialize in wilderness searches and not urban searches. Because our community did not have the Silver Alert, RCMP and Search and Rescue exhausted their resources. It costs us more and takes resources away from other areas, by not having the Silver Alert. Because our community did not have anything in place for us to help search for my father, we as a family had to also come up with our own search strategies. We set up our own search command centre, had our own google maps for you to plot your own searches in your neighbourhood(search map), had Sky Train Blitzes, held Coffee Watches, visited all the soup kitchens and shelters in the city, and searched nooks and crannies in the city. Many volunteers tirelessly combed the streets and trails to search for my father.
Although my father is still yet to be found, our family wants to spare future families the pain and torment of having a loved one go missing.