It’s time for a Silver Alert system in B.C

As you’re reading this, a year will have now passed since Shin Noh went missing.

The Coquitlam father left his home for a walk on Sept. 18, 2013, and never returned.

He was in the middle stages of a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. In the weeks that followed, the community rallied behind the Noh family to search for the missing man.

More recently, Shin’s son Sam and his family has been pushing the provincial government to implement a Silver Alert program for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia, similar to the Amber Alert program used for missing children. In February, Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson brought forward a private member’s bill calling on the government to implement the Silver Alert program.

But since then, not much has happened, much to the frustration of the Noh family. Liberal MLA Linda Reimer recently said implementing a provincial Silver Alert isn’t that simple, noting her government is watching how a similar program is working in Ontario. Any alert in B.C. requires more time, discussion and consultation, she said.

Tired of waiting, Sam Noh has teamed with a member of Coquitlam Search and Rescue to come up with their own citizen Silver Alert. While their efforts are to be commended, even they concede a program backed by the province would be much more effective. For anyone who’s had to deal with a family member battling Alzheimer’s or dementia, the constant fear that a loved one will simply wander away one day and never return is unbearable. It’s time the province brings the Silver Alert program here.