Fraser Valley/Vancouver – 2019 has been a tragic year for seniors with dementia in the Lower Mainland of BC, with six dead or missing to date in the area.
That’s the dire warning from BC Silver Alert.
We haven’t seen a year this bad since we started tracking Silver Alert statistics in 2014.
Over the 5 years since the founding of the BC Silver alert we’ve averaged about 29 alerts a year. Over the same period approximately 2 people per year have died, or have never been found. The BC Silver Alert was founded with the goal of preventing people and their families from suffering that tragedy.
We know from experience that we’re not capturing all of the incidents where people with dementia, autism, cognitive issues or memory deficits go missing, and we feel that even this partial picture should be alarming, but 2019 has been extreme – and at the time of writing this article there’s another missing person in Maple Ridge, bringing the possible total to seven people.
Chilliwack in particular has been hit hard with two seniors going missing, both found deceased, since the summer (Grace Baranyk and John Pop).
“I’m disappointed and frustrated that after 6 years since father’s disappearance, more isn’t being done by our province to help locate missing seniors with dementia.” said Sam Noh, co-founder of the BC Silver Alert. “The chances of survival decrease if not found within 24 hours. As dementia patients are typically found by a member of the public, it is imperative that the public is informed as soon as possible.”
In the coming months the BC Silver Alert will be taking part in discussions with stakeholders on how to proceed. If you have questions or want to help, please contact them and they will keep you informed.