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Jo is 60 and is married, with two grandchildren. In 2012, she was diagnosed early onset Alzheimer’s and spatial Alzheimer’s.

A bit about Jo

She and her husband, Don, are being supported by the Innovations in Dementia project. It uses Red Nose Day cash to lead groups of people with dementia in supporting each other so that their experiences can shape policy, practice and attitudes.

The diagnosis

“She said, ‘We think you have early onset Alzheimer’s. We’d like to refer you.’ When she told me, I burst into tears. I phoned Don and he came home. We went out for a run. I wanted to get it all out of my head. So we ran and we ran and I cried.”



850,000 people in the UK have dementia.

Source: Alzheimer's Society

Hear some of Jo’s thoughts on her world

Play audio

Dressing and cooking

“I find myself putting my coat and shoes on the wrong way round. Lately, my bra too. You wouldn’t think it would be difficult to put your bra on; getting it the right way round. It’s the same with knickers. For goodness sake, you know which way round they go, then suddenly realise you’ve got your feet in the same hole.”

“I’m determined not to give up cooking. Cooking is what I used to be good at. Now I don’t read complicated recipes, just tried and tested ones which are written up. I write out the ingredients and Don ticks them off, but it just takes such a long time.”

Running and a sense of purpose

“Don’s a keen runner and it always thought it looked like fun so I joined a running club and I’m addicted. It just feels good, running on your own. You don’t think of anything, your mind is just blank. It also gets more oxygen to your brain and stops old brain cells withering away so quickly. Any sort of exercise is so good.”

“I also run talks for a project called EDUCATE. I have three talks, one about diagnosis and the other two are about coping strategies. I didn’t realise I could make people laugh, I get such a buzz talking to people. It gives me a sense of purpose. I love it.””

Fundraise and make a difference

Improving life for people with dementia and their carers is very important to us and just one of the many issues we fund in the UK, together with our work in Africa. For ways to join in this Red Nose Day, download a free Fundraising Kit.

Download a free Kit now

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