Joe McLeod and wife Rose McLeod are shown in this family photo. Joe McLeod is a 71-year-old man who suffers from Alzheimer's and was charged with manslaughter after 87-year-old Frank Alexander died of head injuries in March 2011. Joe McLeod was later declared unfit to stand trial. (CP/Winnipeg Free Press,HO)
The projected increase in the number of people with Alzheimer's and other kinds of dementia presents major challenges
"The issue is that the law of governments around the world has not prepared their health systems to cope with the increase of dementia. So that means that health systems won't be able to cope unless countries have developed a national dementia plan and prepared for the increase for people with dementia".Johan Vos with Alzheimer's Disease International
According to Alzheimer's Disease International's projections, the number of people living with dementia will triple over the next 40 years ... from 44 million to a 135 million people by 2050. That means more stress on friends, families and health care systems. And it may have serious financial consequences.
Read Alzheimer's Disease International's full report Policy Brief: The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050
The Alzheimer's Society estimates the cost of dementia care worldwide is already about$ 650-Billion-dollars. That's 1 per cent of global GDP. And the group expects that number to grow .. significantly.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia - a sometimes treatable disease, but not curable. So far, only 13 countries have a national dementia plan. Canada is not one of them. On Wednesday, representatives of the G8 countries -- including Canada -- will gather in London for a summit aimed at coming up with a plan to deal with dementia.
And to Michael Alexander, that's long overdue. Two-and-a-half years ago, his 87-year-old father Frank suffered a brain injury after he was pushed to the ground by another resident at a nursing home in Winnipeg. Frank Alexander died four days later. The man who pushed him was Joe McLeod, a 71-year-old man who suffers from Alzheimer's and was later declared unfit to stand trial. Michael Alexander was in Ottawa.
Faye Jashyn's life also went into upheaval the day Frank Alexander was assaulted. Her father, Joe McLeod is the man who pushed Mr. Alexander to the floor. Faye Jashyn was in Winnipeg. .
There are 747,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. That number is expected to increase to 1.4 million by 2031.
We requested interviews with Parkview Place Centre, the home Frank Alexander was staying in, and the Winnipeg Health Authority. Both declined our requests, citing an on-going inquest into the case.
Both the Winnipeg Health Authority and Revera, the company that runs Parkview Place, sent us statements.
"Mr. Alexander's death was a tragedy and we deeply sympathize with both families involved. The inquest into this case is critically important to everyone involved; we must respect due process by letting the work of the inquest unfold and therefore will not discuss the matter before the inquest takes place.A statement on behalf of Parkview Place Care Centre and Revera
As general context, the majority of people entering long term care homes today have complex chronic conditions. Increasingly, this includes dementia and mental illnesses, which can create unpredictable behaviour. Care providers, regulatory bodies, funders, policy makers and advocates must continue to work together to identify solutions for the long term, which may include improved resident screening and elevated government funding for specialized staffing and programs. It is our hope that, along with providing any outstanding answers for the families, this inquest will provide all partners involved with guidance to address the challenges we face together".
(Revera is the owner and operator of Parkview Place)
"As the inquest into Mr. Alexander's death will commence shortly, it would be inappropriate for the WRHA to comment on this case. This has been a difficult time for both families and all of those involved. We look forward to participating in the inquest process to learn more about the incident and receiving the judge's recommendations for improvement".Bronwyn Penner-Holigroski, WRHA Media Relations
If you have an experience with dementia that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you.
This segment was produced by The Current's Kathleen Goldhar and Pacinthe Mattar.