Alzheimer’s Before Forty


At the age of 37, Jo Giles was diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s disease. He first shared his story with Shannon Proudfoot for Maclean’s at the age of 38. In the three years since, the disease has progressed in “plateaus connected by sudden declines,” and in this latest piece, Proudfoot looks at the agonizing decision Jo’s wife Robin is now facing. Robin “knows a reckoning is imminent”— with Jo becoming more and more difficult to care for at home. She is considering a nursing home, but before Jo lost the ability to verbalize his thoughts he told her he despised that idea and would prefer to end his life. This is not possible: “… when medical assistance in dying became law in 2016, excluded were “advance requests” that would have permitted people with dementia to set out terms for their death while they still had capacity to consent.”…

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