( dpa ) - Dementia patients will receive special identity cards in Singapore so that members of the public can contact the families of those found lost or wandering, the National Council of Social Services said Wednesday.
The card will carry a patient's name, spoken language and family contact numbers. Drug allergies and other important information will also be included.
The degenerative brain condition is marked by memory lapses. As the disease worsens, patients lose the ability to care for themselves.
Nearly 20,000 people in the city-state are afflicted with dementia, according to figures published in The Straits Times. The number is expected to rise to 50,000 people by 2020.
It is common for dementia patients to wander from their homes and become lost, said the council's chief executive Ang Bee Lian.
The card should be hung on a lanyard around the neck before outings, Lian said.
Sales executive Eleen Ng, 40, said that her 70-year-old mother has lost her way numerous times and ended up at a police station after she was found wandering the streets.
"I used to tear my hair out and panic each time mum went missing," she was quoted as saying.
Ng's mother is no longer allowed to go out on her own.