A Coquitlam family, mourning a loss, is helping raise awareness for a Silver Alert early warning system, here in BC.
Sixty-four-year-old Shin Noh disappeared from the family home one year ago. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s and has never been found. His family held a walk today to mark the one-year anniversary of his disappearance.
"The Silver Alert is much like the Amber Alert but this is for seniors with Alzeimer's, where media outlets are instantly notified, because time is very critical when an Alzheimer patient goes missing," said Noh’s son Sam.
Statistics show that 50 per cent more Canadian families will be dealing with dementia in some form within five years. Six out of 10 people with dementia will wander at least once. If they are not found within 24 hours, half will suffer serious harm or death.
Laurie Suchanek is a Silver Alert supporter whose grandfather passed away due to Alzheimer’s.
"I'm really sad that it’s been almost a year [since Noh went missing], but at the same time going for the Silver Alert, is really fantastic to help other families,” she said.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart supports the silver alert method that 35 American states are currently using. Photos of missing people with dementia could be sent to every cellphone in a communities with cell service.
“You'd get a picture and you'd be looking around the neighbourhoods saying, ‘Well there he is,’” Stewart said.
Selina Robinson, NDP MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville, said the government has the opportunity to bring a warning system to reality.
"The province could take some leadership here and develop community-based protocols, so that communities can adopt these protocols when somebody in their community [or] in their neighbourhood goes missing," she said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Peter Grainger