New legislation could help Alzheimer's programs

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Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW) -- The family of a missing Waynesboro woman suffering from Alzheimer's is bumping up the reward to ten thousand dollars.

Arletha Bennett, 77, has been missing for three weeks.

"I feel very strongly that she is still alive," Bennet's sister Maye Birt said.

Birt has been searching for her sister Althea Bennet for three weeks now. As she looks at her sisters missing posters she hopes someone somewhere will know where she is.

"It might take just a notice, just an extra glimpse to find her, and these are my hopes," Birt said.

Bennet suffers from Alzheimer's and wandering off is common with the disease.

"She would often speak about going home not realizing she was at home," Birt said.

The Alzheimer's Association was out searching the day she went missing helping volunteers who were searching. Now, they're working to get legislation passed that could help even more.

The Georgia Senate just passed a bill that will set up a registry. A new method for collecting, storing, and analyzing data.

"It's a way of putting together the documentation which will then give us a snap shot of what the issues and the numbers are here so we can then develop those programs," Cathy Tuckey with the Alzheimer's Association said.

Advocates are also calling Georgia legislators to ask for $450,000 to help find missing people.

"We can't connect them to family because they can't tell us where they live, they cant tell us their last name, that we'd be able to then have dollars that adult protective services could do an emergency replacement," Tuckey said.

Tuckey says this new legislation should just be the beginning.

"The person with Alzheimer's and dementia loses their voice and we have to be that voice," Tuckey said.

Tuckey said the amount of Alzheimer's patients is only expected to increase so these new resources would help out a lot.

Anyone with information about Bennet is asked to call the Waynesboro Police Department.

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