“Do you have any other kids?” the pathologist asked.
Ms. Wilson paused. Over the past four years, Alzheimer’s disease had stripped the 73-year-old of her ability to drive and tell time and read the morning paper, but it had yet not stolen the memory of her children.
“Nope,” Ms. Wilson replied.
It had started. She’d forgotten Kira’s brother and sister.
The descent into dementia is harrowing under any circumstance, but in Ms. Wilson’s case, every lost word or forgotten name was freighted with significance. That summer, in 2017, she was trying to become one of the first patients in Canada – perhaps the first – to be approved for a medically assisted death for Alzheimer’s disease. But every mental slip made it less likely that Ms. Wilson, a petite former civil servant with a grey pixie haircut and three university degrees, would have the mental capacity to give informed consent for a medically assisted death.
Related post by Jocelyn Downie at the Dalhousie Law Journal: https://blogs.dal.ca/dlj/2019/10/18/it-can-happen-here-maid-and-dementia-in-canada/