An Alzheimer’s nightmare

By now you may have read about the 66-year-old Toronto woman who was found without vital signs Monday morning on a driveway in the bitter cold.

By now you may have read about the 66-year-old Toronto woman who was found without vital signs Monday morning on a driveway in the bitter cold.

It’s believed the woman, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, had wandered away from her home in -20 temperatures at 2 a.m., police said. A newspaper delivery woman found the woman at about 5:30 a.m. on Monday, just a block from her home.

Police said finger marks could be seen on a vehicle in the driveway where the woman had likely tried to pull herself up off of the ground. There were also scratch marks on the screen door to the home.

An officer on the scene confirmed some neighbours heard the woman crying out in distress in the driveway, but no one called 911 or came to her aid.

Many people will likely immediately take issue with the fact no one who heard the woman gave assistance or even made the effort to call police. This may very well be an indictment of the state of our communities.

But it is certainly a nightmare come true for the caregivers across Canada.

Many husbands and wives, sons and daughters worry about their loved ones who suffer from dementia wandering off in the night.

More specifically, this tragedy may serve to turn our collective attention to the impact of Alzheimer’s on families.

As one blogger wrote on Monday, the story “acutely highlighted the need for Alzheimer’s education, research and support systems for caregivers and families.”

To highlight the fact that January is Alzheimer’s Month, the Alzheimer Society recently released the results of a survey. It found 23 per cent of baby boomers can’t name any of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, even though their risk doubles every five years after age 65.

The survey probably opened a few eyes.

While the survey results carry weight, one would imagine the tragic story of this Toronto woman will open even more eyes to the effects of this disease.

From the Summerside, P.E.I., Journal-Pioneer