Advocates for people with Alzheimer's disease are praising a new state law. The Missing and Vulnerable Adults program is now in effect.
The program uses the Amber Alert system that's already in place, except instead of notifying the public about a missing child, the system notifies the public about a missing vulnerable adult, such as an adult with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli and Sen. John DeFrancisco were both sponsors of the bill.
Magnarelli says the bill was vetoed twice for various reasons, including privacy concerns for the missing people, but he continued to support it, and he says concerns about the bill have been addressed.
"When you read about people wandering and dying, just because we can't get to them in time, it seems like a no-brainer that you would try to do everything you could to make things better," says Magnarelli.
Catherine James, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer's Association's Central New York chapter, says the new law helps law enforcement find missing people more quickly, which is crucial.
"We live in an area of the northeast where the weather is very unpredictable," says James. "You can travel ten minutes away and get a whole other world of cold and snow."
Caregivers like Eileen Krupka say the law gives them peace of mind. Her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six years ago.
"We really needed this to help," says Krupka. "The sooner we can get them back home, the safer everybody is."
The new program joins other programs like "MedicAlert" and "Comfort Zone" that are already in place to help locate people who wander off.
What do you think of this new law? Have you or someone you know been affected by Alzheimer's disease? Post your comments below.