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The Alzheimer's Association to host First Responder conference to teach emergency personnel essential skills

To further its mission of raising awareness and providing support, the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter will host "Navigating Alzheimer's & Dementia: A Conference for First Responders" on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.  This conference will bring together industry experts and passionate individuals to share knowledge, best practices, and cutting-edge research about Alzheimer's disease, prevention, and care with our state’s First Responders.  First responders will gain invaluable tools, insights, and strategies to enhance their understanding and approaches when dealing with Alzheimer 's-related emergencies.

Alzheimer’s disease causes people to lose their ability to recognize familiar places and faces. It’s common for a person living with dementia to wander or become lost or confused about their location, and it can happen at any stage of the disease. Six in 10 people living with dementia will wander at least once; many do so repeatedly. Although common, wandering can be dangerous — even life-threatening — and the stress of this risk weighs heavily on caregivers and family.

When individuals with dementia are lost, they may show signs of anxiety, fear, or hostility — all of which can escalate to more aggressive behaviors. As the disease progresses and individuals with dementia forget family members and societal norms, there may be cases of false reports and victimization, indecent exposure, and shoplifting. Therefore, it is important that first responders understand proper tactics to use when in these situations.

In 2016, the Illinois Silver Search program was launched and has since bolstered public awareness and provided vital resources for law enforcement when individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias, or cognitive impairments are reported missing. Silver Search has been a beacon of hope for families and communities across Illinois. As of today, 733 advisories have been issued since 2014.

Through the Illinois State Police Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS), reports of missing persons are swiftly disseminated, ensuring a coordinated response to high-risk missing person cases. The Endangered Missing Person Advisory serves as a lifeline for local law enforcement to request public notices when individuals facing high-risk situations go missing.

The Silver Search Task Force continues to disseminate critical information through various channels, including social media, radio, television, and digital displays on lottery terminals and interstate message boards. By harnessing the power of technology and comprehensive training programs, the task force empowers communities and enhances public awareness of the Silver Search process.

In collaboration with the Illinois Lottery and the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Silver Search program has expanded its reach through digital displays on lottery terminals and message boards over Illinois interstates and tollways. These partnerships have been instrumental in increasing public awareness and maximizing search efforts.

“When a loved one goes missing, time is of the essence.  It is imperative that you contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. Law enforcement utilizes many tools to locate a high risk missing person including the activation of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory.  The hope is using the eyes and ears of the public to help return the endangered person home safely.” said Craig Burge, Silver Search Coordinator, Illinois State Police.


Conference Details

Navigating Alzheimer’s & Dementia: A Conference for First Responders

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:00 PM)

Location: 2815 Jorie Blvd, Oak Brook, IL 69523

Registration: Free of charge Register today:  First Responder Conference | Alzheimer's Assoc. ( or visit

For more information about the Illinois Silver Search program, please visit


About Silver Search:

The Silver Search Task Force aims to offer comprehensive assistance for law enforcement and communities when individuals aged 21 or older with Alzheimer’s disease or related cognitive impairments go missing. Chaired by the Illinois State Police Silver Search Program Coordinator, Craig Burge, the task force includes the Illinois State Police, Illinois Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Department on Aging, American Association of Retired Persons, and other key stakeholders.



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Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter

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Lisle, IL 60532

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