The search for an Alzheimer’s cure
Cairine Scott and her husband, Henderson

​​​​​​​​​​​Alzheimer’s patient Cairine Scott and her husband, Henderson, steal a moment outside Belmont House, a Toronto-based retirement home.​

At age 80, Cairine Scott has a glow that most people would envy. Her eyes twinkle beneath a sweep of fine silver hair, and she chuckles at the old stories her 86-year-old husband, Henderson, brings up about the rich lives they’ve led together. During an afternoon lunch in June, Cairine looks flawless in a textured red-and-green jacket. She’s also wearing elegant green-gold earrings and sporting a fiery-red manicure, all of which go well with her hobby of painting brightly coloured canvases, many of which decorate their room. Cairine, a former elementary school teacher, has certainly led a full life, but she now has trouble remembering the life she’s lived. Cairine has Alzheimer’s disease, and although she follows the lunchtime conversation, she may not remember today’s meal, nor the visitors who ate with her. After lunch, she shows off the library she designed a decade ago for the residents of Belmont House, one of Toronto’s best-appointed retirement homes, where she and her husband, a former university professor, live. A plaque on a shelf recognizes Cairine for her work on the library. Today, it’s getting harder for her to read any books, or even spell her own name. ​​​​​