NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ever since the Silver Alert Law went into effect in Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has put out several notifications urging people to be on the lookout for missing adults. So far this year, at least 10 people have been added to their list but have been found dead since.
The toll it takes on families is a personal one.
“It was terrifying because, you know, there’s a lot of wild animals, it was a busy weekend, you know not everybody’s nice, he didn’t have but $6 in his wallet,” said Susie Knight.
Knight’s father, 73-year-old Joe Hall, was reported missing in May 2021, out of Jefferson County. He was on a family vacation when the Hall family went looking for him, after waking up and realizing he was gone.
“We were hoping that within a few hours the whole thing would be over, but as time dragged on we’re like, we might not get any closure at all,” Knight said.
Closure didn’t come until nearly a year later when law enforcement officials found his remains about two miles from where he was last seen.
“It was overwhelming, it was hurtful,” said Knight.
Hall isn’t the only story like this. So far this year, more than 10 people have been issued Silver Alerts and were later found dead. The majority of them suffered from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“I think the biggest factor that is affecting more people staying at home is the cost of care. It’s how expensive it is, and people assume that Medicare pays for assisted living or long-term care, and it does not,” said Grace Smith, Executive Director of Age Well Middle Tennessee.
According to Alzheimer’s Tennessee, the disease is the most expensive illness in the United States. The organization projects by 2050, Alzheimer’s will cost $1 trillion. The high cost can often come at a high risk for families who can’t afford care and are left with trying to watch their loved ones 24/7.
“I think the wandering can sometimes catch people by surprise and they think they have done everything they need to do to prevent it,” explained Grace.
Advocates are now hoping to lawmakers will step in and help increase funding for at-home care. Age Well Middle Tennessee works to connect families with the resources that they need. Using a directory, they are able to link those needing help with caregivers and professionals in Middle Tennessee.
“It’s really overwhelming when you don’t know what the systems of care are, how much things cost, what Medicare does and doesn’t cover,” Grace said.
Currently, there are three people still with active Silver Alerts on the TBI’s website. Lucy Buchanan is the longest missing adult on that list after she went missing in November 2021. Officials believe she may have Alzheimer’s.