The Ontario government has introduced a “Silver Advisory” program to help find wandering Alzheimer’s patients.

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the province-wide, $1.5-million initiative at a seniors’ centre in Toronto on Wednesday.

“It will be the first of its kind in Ontario,” he said. “In fact, it will be the first of its kind in the country.”

When it launches next year, the system will be similar to Amber Alerts for missing children, which use highway message boards, radio and television stations to quickly let the public know the details of an abduction soon after it happens.

Sophia Aggelonitis, Minister Responsible for Seniors, called for the alert in a private member’s bill while still a backbencher last November. Her own grandmother went missing 12 years ago.

“It was about 8 o’clock … She had dinner and she wandered,” Aggelonitis said.

“Every single minute that went by, we were very nervous. They found her blocks away, in a very wooded area, in a ditch. She had fallen.”

Similar programs exist in 12 American states.

With files from the Canadian Press