Alzheimer's patient wrongly jailed, wife says

A Winnipeg woman says she's desperate to get her mentally ill husband out of jail after he was charged more than a month ago and held in custody in connection with an assault.

Winnipeg man's case put over 11 times since Sept. 8

A Winnipeg woman says she's desperate to get her mentally ill husband out of jail after he was charged more than a month ago and held in custody in connection with an assault.

Rose McLeod said her 69-year-old husband, Joe, suffers from Alzheimer's. She said he woke up on Sept. 2 and became aggressive with her after he didn't recognize her.

He pushed her to the ground and she was cut, McLeod said, and she called police because she wasn't sure what else to do.

She thought she could get some assistance from officers, but she didn't expect them to arrest and cart Joe away.

He's been in a medical ward of the Winnipeg Remand Centre ever since, she said.

McLeod said she wants the charges against her husband dropped.

She said she can't understand why he hasn't been placed in a secure ward for other people with mental illnesses.

"You'd think they'd put him someplace where there's other people like him that's going through the same thing," McLeod said.

She and Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard held a press conference Wednesday to express their distress about the situation.

Gerrard said putting a man with Alzheimer's in jail is "appalling."

Court records show that Joe's case first appeared on the docket on Sept. 8. Since then, it has been remanded 11 times.

On three occasions, he appeared in domestic-violence bail court, but his family said he has yet to make a bail application.

His lawyer was out of town and unavailable for comment.

WRHA steps in

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said it was arranging to have McLeod assessed for Alzheimer's next week, which could lead to placement in a personal care home.

His case is unusual because he was not enrolled in the provincial home care program that offers support to people with Alzheimer's and other long-term conditions, the authority's chief operating officer, Real Cloutier, said.

"We always start with home care because our philosophy is to always care for people as long as possible in the home," Cloutier said. "So it's unfortunate that home care wasn't in the mix in the first place to be able to do a progressive assessment."

Most Alzheimer's patients start with home care because the disease usually progresses slowly, Cloutier said. Others are admitted to hospital when the disease begins to take a bigger toll, and are moved to a long-term care home.

McLeod's case is unique.

"This is a bit of an unusual one and we have to learn from those unusual cases," Cloutier said.

With files from The Canadian Press