On a cold January in 2010, Frank Wlosinski disappeared. The 74-year-old retired firefighter who suffered from Alzheimer's disease wandered away from his Fairmount home. Two months later, his body was found along the shores of Onondaga Lake.
Now, there's an effort to prevent similar tragedies.
A new statewide alert system launched today will help find vulnerable missing adults. The "Missing Adult Alerts" system, similar to the nationwide Amber Alert program, will help local law enforcement notify the public when a cognitively impaired New Yorker goes missing.
"The Missing Adults Alert system will help law enforcement find elderly and impaired New Yorkers who become lost and get them home safely," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "This system has saved lives regarding missing children, and now it will provide the same assistance when it comes to finding vulnerable adults."
Governor Cuomo signed a new law in July, creating the notification system to rapidly spread information about missing adults with dementia, Alzheimer's or other cognitive impairments. They often experience disorientation and confusion which can lead them to wander. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 60 percent of Alzheimer sufferers will wander and 50 percent are at risk of serious harm, or even death, if not located within 24 hours.
When a vulnerable adult goes missing, posters will be distributed, a toll-free 24 hour hotline will be established and information will be sent to the media to broadcast. You can sign up to receive these alerts by clicking here.
According to the governor's office, 95-percent of people who go missing because they suffer from a cognitive impairment are found within a quarter mile from their home or the place where they were last seen.
As of today, there's a new alert system in place to help bring them home safely. The hope is to find people like Frank Wlosinski before they meet a similar fate.
Will you sign up for the new alerts? Do you think they'll work to help bring home missing people? What else can be done to help find missing vulnerable adults? Leave your thoughts below.