When Ron Robert graduated from university last fall, he was already seven years into a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The 85-year-old knew he had to keep an active mind in order to help ward off the memory loss that comes from the illness. So Robert tackled a lifelong goal: he enrolled in a three-year bachelor of arts program at Kings University College, in Ontario, Canada. With the support of his teachers and peers, he walked across the stage in October. “When I went across the stage, and as I’m getting my diploma, the kids all stood up and yelled and clapped. I had to hold back tears. It was something else, just wonderful,” Robert said. Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that leads to dementia, a cognitive impairment that interferes with everyday functioning. Experts say that education and mental fitness play an important role in the condition’s development.

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