10/26/2012 10:04 EDT | Updated 12/26/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. senior pushed to her death in care home

An elderly man is in police custody in connection with the death of a woman in an East Vancouver care home.

Police says they responded Thursday afternoon to 911 calls about an 84-year-old woman who had fallen and hit her head.

"She was transported to hospital by paramedics where she tragically died,” said Const. Brian Montague Friday.

“The Vancouver police homicide unit is now investigating after it was reported to police that the woman was injured in a fall after being pushed by another tenant."

Montague said a 79-year-old man, who was a resident of the same care home, was arrested.

Police said their investigation will include the man's medical history and will try to determine if dementia played a role in Thursday’s incident.

Dementia dilemma

Experts say dementia can cause people to react with fear or anger to innocent situations.

"It's quite often people have misperceptions of what's going on around them. This may lead them to behave in a way that is socially unacceptable," said Simon Fraser University gerontologist Andrew Sixsmith

More than 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer's disease, a number that's expected to double by 2038.

Sixsmith said Alzheimer’s sufferers may not understand the danger they pose to others, and little can be done to remedy that for the time being.

"We don't have any prospect of pharmaceutical drugs to treat dementia, so it remains largely a social problem. How do we help these people who have these very challenging conditions?"