Elderly man with Alzheimer’s went to school to fight off memory loss, earns a university degree

Ron Robert inside the classroom.


Ana L.

He knew there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there was a way to improve his mental fitness. Instead of worrying about memory loss, he fought it off by going to school and earning a university degree.

Alzheimer’s disease is a battle over 6 million Americans are fighting. One of these fighters is 85-year-old Ron Robert.

When Robert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he did not find the news shocking. He has two siblings who were diagnosed with the same illness.

It was devastating for him to lose a lot of important things such as his driver’s license but he realized that this was not the end for him.

He had two choices: to fight back or do nothing about it. He chose to fight it off and improve his lifestyle. After such realization, he made a major decision of going to school and earn a university degree, which was on his bucket list.

He was anxious to go back to school at first but he was determined to reach his goal. He prepared by starting a walking regime where he walked about five kilometers a day.

He wanted to make sure he would be physically in shape to accomplish numerous school activities.

Ron Robert talking to students.

“I wanted to get a university education,” Robert said. “I knew I was going to be tested and I knew it was long-term. Those two things made me decide university was the way to go.”YouTube

Though Robert did not have a university degree, he had a long, fulfilling career as a journalist and a radio broadcaster in Western Canada. He later worked as a political advisor for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

As he expected, Robert found studying quite challenging. He said he was “learning to learn again” in the first two years of going to school. Though he understood facts, it was difficult for him to memorize names, places, and dates.

Ron Robert

“In my first year at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, I went from a D in my first exam to an A in my final exam in Political Science,” shared Robert. “It was a real surprise and satisfying, mainly because of the progress it showed.”YouTube

According to Robert’s wife, Catherine Cornelius, her husband worked hard through the course despite his health condition. She also said she believed that studying hard prevented his Alzheimer’s from progressing.

One of Robert’s professors, Jeff Preston, was another witness to Robert’s hard work and progress.

“We have this perception that people with disabilities like Alzheimer’s are wholly incapable. I think what Ron has shown is that all sorts of people can succeed in a university classroom when provided with the right environment and supports to nurture success,” Preston said.

After three years of perseverance, Robert finally finished his bachelor’s degree at King’s University College in Ontario. His family, teachers, and peers were all proud of what he had accomplished.Twitter | King’s President

Robert on stage during his graduation

“When I went across the stage, and as I’m getting my diploma, the kids all stood up and yelled and clapped,” Robert recalled. “I had to hold back the tears. It was something else, just wonderful.”

Robert is planning to pursue a master’s degree and keep finding ways how to improve his mental health and live his life to the fullest.

He also hopes to spread more awareness and information about Alzheimer’s disease. He wants people to know that older people can still contribute to and participate in the community.

For people with Alzheimer’s like him, Robert has one piece of advice: “A dementia diagnosis doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Life goes on; make the most of it.”

Watch this video to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease:


Tyson Foods to lay off 1,700 workers, close two chicken plants

A package of Tyson Foods Inc. chicken is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois.

A package of Tyson Foods Inc. chicken is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois.


Amelia Lucas

  • Tyson Foods will close two chicken plants in May as part of a plan to strengthen its poultry business.
  • In its latest quarter, the meat giant said its chicken business underperformed expectations.
  • Other food suppliers, including PepsiCo and Beyond Meat, have laid off workers in recent months to cut costs.

Tyson Foods will close two chicken plants in May, affecting nearly 1,700 employees.

“While the decision was not easy, it reflects our broader strategy to strengthen our poultry business by optimizing operations and utilizing full available capacity at each plant,” Tyson said in a statement to CNBC.

In its latest quarter, Tyson’s chicken business underperformed expectations as its operating income was halved compared with the year-ago period.

The company’s plants in Van Buren, Arkansas, and Glen Allen, Virginia, will close May 12. Demand will be shifted to other Tyson facilities. The Wall Street Journal first reported the upcoming closures.

Tyson said it is helping affected employees apply for open jobs and offering relocation assistance to other plants. The Glen Allen plant has 692 employees, while the Van Buren facility has 969 workers.

The meat giant is the latest food supplier to lay off workers in an effort to cut costs.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, both of which make alternative meats, have cut more than a fifth of their workforces as demand wanes for their products and the companies look to conserve cash. Coca-Cola offered voluntary buyouts to North American workers, while PepsiCo cut jobs in its Frito-Lay and North American beverage units. Spice giant McCormick said it would offer buyouts and lay off workers as part of a plan to save $75 million.