Highway death sparks Alzheimer’s debate

Highway death sparks Alzheimer’s debate

Grandmother Chandrowtie Basdeo, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died after wandering onto Hwy. 400.
By Jasminee Sahoye

The death of a mother of eight and grandmother Alzheimer's Diseasewho suffered from Alzheimer’s in a hit and run on Hwy. 400 near Vaughan is raising questions about how to take better care of people with the disease.

Chandrowtie Basdeo, 82, originally from Guyana, wandered off in the night on a busy highway from her home in Vaughan and was struck. She was found dead on the road by police.

Family members said she wandered off before but this is the first time she was missed from the home in the night.

A 40-year-old Bradford man is free on $10,000 bail, charged with failing to remain at the scene of a motor vehicle collision involving death. He is to appear in court in Newmarket on Sept. 11.

According to an article on WebMD, doctors cannot check for the disease by doing a quick blood test because signs of Alzheimer’s disease don’t appear in the blood. “Instead, Alzheimer’s disease is the result of a problem inside your brain. The only way to be 100% certain a person suffers from Alzheimer’s disease is to examine samples of brain tissue. This can only be done during an autopsy, after a person has died.”

The article states taking care of a person with Alzheimer’s disease depends on his or her symptoms and the progression of the disease. These factors help to determine how much and what types of assistance are needed for the person and his or her family.

“It is important to remember that lost skills will not be regained. However, proper management of the disease and its symptoms can make living with Alzheimer’s disease – or a person with Alzheimer’s disease – a little easier,” it says.

The WebMD article notes that physical exercise, proper nutrition, good general health and socialization are important for people with Alzheimer’s.

It adds that activities should be planned to help provide structure, meaning, and a sense of accomplishment for the person with Alzheimer’s. It is always best to establish a routine with which the person can become familiar.

“Choose the best times to do activities according to the part of the day when the person is usually at his/her best. As functions are lost, adapt activities and routines to allow the person with Alzheimer’s to participate as much as possible. Keep activities familiar and satisfying, and keep instructions simple.

“Allow the person with Alzheimer’s to complete as many things as possible by him/herself, even if you have to initiate the activity. Provide “cues” for desired behavior. For example, if you label a drawer according to what it should contain, the person is more likely to put things in the correct place.

“Keep the individual with Alzheimer’s out of harm’s way by removing things that could endanger them. For example, hide the car keys and matches. Remember: What appears safe to you may not be safe for a person with Alzheimer’s,” the article explains.

Meanwhile, a new study finds that older adults with too little vitamin D in their blood may have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The research, with more than 1,600 adults over age 65, found the risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia increased with the severity of vitamin D deficiency.

But the study researcher says the findings aren’t enough to recommend seniors to take vitamin D supplements to prevent mental decline. “Clinical trials are now urgently needed in this area,” said study researcher David Llewellyn, a senior research fellow in clinical epidemiology at the University of Exeter Medical School in England.