King's student Ron Robert speaks to Schulich class
November 21, 2019
Ron Robert, 82, may be a student at King’s but on November 18, 2019, he was at the front of the class at the Schulich School of Medicine’s Geriatric Interest Group. He spoke to approximately 40 students in the classroom and those viewing via video-conferencing. The Geriatric Interest group is made up of students at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry who are interested in a career in the field of geriatrics.
Speaking to students is an experience Robert has had before and is one he clearly enjoys. “I love speaking to students. I’m a proud student here myself,” he said, pointing to the King’s sweatshirt he wore. “I have finals coming up on December 1.” At King’s, Robert is also a Tour Guide and he regularly can be found in the cafeteria chatting with his fellow students, faculty and staff.
Robert, enrolled in a 3-year Bachelor of Arts with a Political Science Major, related his life before his 2016 Alzheimer’s diagnosis, working as a political reporter in Saskatchewan and Alberta before heading to Ottawa and eventually working for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s office on the “Western desk” (dealing with issues concerning Canada’s western provinces).
He also answered questions posed to him by Susan Oster, Public Education Coordinator, Alzheimer Society London & Middlesex about his experience being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and immediately after. Robert is a national spokesperson for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
Robert discussed how he feels change is needed about the way those with Alzheimer’s are treated by others. “Don’t baby us. We’re diminished but not incapacitated,” he says, adding people should be “nice, pleasant but firm.”
After his diagnosis, Robert says he set out to find ways to deal with Alzheimer’s which led him to decide to go to university. During his career, he had always felt inadequate about his education and knew he had to keep his brain stimulated to fight the effects of the disease.
“The bonus really was the King’s students. I often think ‘what a kind, good group,’” Robert says. He advised the Western students, “you have so much potential, it’s unbelievable, but you have to work hard, study hard and try to help people.”
As he has in the past, Robert reiterated his love for the generation of students he sees every day at King’s. “I’m impressed with your generation. You have a great sense of social justice. This is the generation that will make a difference,” he told the students.
Watch the CTV story on Ron Robert's addressing Schulich students about living with Alzheimer's at https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/man-with-alzheimer-s-teaches-medical-students-about-the-importance-of-patience-1.4699021
To read more about Ron Robert, please visit https://www.kings.uwo.ca/about-kings/media-and-communications/newsroom/kings-student-to-appear-on-ctv/