Alzheimer's ID Program

November 7, 2011 Updated Nov 7, 2011 at 9:10 PM EDT

By WKBW News

November 7, 2011 Updated Nov 7, 2011 at 9:10 PM EDT

(Williamsville, NY) Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 5.4 million people in the United States.

The disease causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.

One of the most serious behaviors is 'wandering.'

Patients who wander can become lost very easily and cannot determine the proper actions needed to keep themselves safe.

According to Lisa Theurer, Director of Support Group and Safety Services for WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, "60% of people with dementia will wander."

Finding them quickly, is not only crucial to keeping them safe, but in many cases it might save their lives.

"If not found within the first 24 hours, 50% of them will either be seriously injured, or deceased," adds Lisa Theurer.

The WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association hosted the New York State Masonic Safety ID Program to help caregivers.

Using high-tech devices, fingerprints and photographs were recorded on special ID cards and on mini-CDs.

It is hoped that if a loved-one does go missing, the information will help authorities get a description out sooner.