- Living with Alzheimer's: Rebecca Chopp's Inspiring Journey Dr. Ron Kaiser 38:30
In this podcast episode, Dr. Ron Kaiser welcomes Dr. Rebecca Chopp, a distinguished academic leader and author who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Rebecca shares her unique and inspiring journey of living with Alzheimer’s and how she’s refused to surrender to the disease. Her story is a testament to the power of attitude, lifestyle interventions, and Resilience in the face of a challenging diagnosis.
Rebecca’s Diagnosis and Initial Experience:
Rebecca earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and had a successful career, including serving as the president of Colgate University and Swarthmore College. In 2019, she was the Chancellor of the University of Denver when she received the devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Her first neurologist had outdated knowledge about the disease and painted a bleak picture of her future, but Rebecca’s life took a different turn after getting a second opinion from a more positive neurologist..
Refusing to Surrender:
Rebecca discusses her initial struggles with the diagnosis and the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s. Many people hesitate to seek diagnosis due to the fear and misconceptions about the disease. However, she emphasizes the importance of getting an early diagnosis and maintaining a positive attitude.
Building a Healthy Lifestyle:
Rebecca outlines key components of her lifestyle changes to delay the progress of her Alzheimer’s symptoms. These include diet, exercise, sleep, and creativity. She follows a Mediterranean-style diet, prioritizes sleep, and incorporates exercise into her daily routine. Creativity, whether through painting, music, or gardening, has been a vital aspect of her journey.
Recognizing Alzheimer’s Symptoms:
Rebecca shares how Alzheimer’s has affected her daily life, particularly her short-term memory and Time Management skills. She also discusses the gradual loss of her ability to drive, highlighting that Alzheimer’s symptoms vary among individuals.
Rebecca’s Career and Life Before Alzheimer’s:
Rebecca’s journey to becoming an academic leader, from her modest upbringing to her academic pursuits in theology and administration, is highlighted. She reflects on the joy she found in her career and her interest in spirituality.
About Rebecca’s Book:
Rebecca’s upcoming book, “STILL ME: Accepting Alzheimer’s Without Losing Yourself,” is discussed. The book provides insights into her diagnosis, living well with Alzheimer’s, the science behind the disease, and practical tips for those facing a similar journey. All proceeds from the book will go toward further Alzheimer’s research.
Rebecca’s Website and Support:
Rebecca’s website, Rebecca Chopp Enterprises, offers blogs, information on her book, and showcases her artwork. She is dedicated to spreading awareness and supporting the Alzheimer’s community.
Support and Resources for Alzheimer’s:
Rebecca encourages individuals to seek a second opinion if they receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She recommends valuable resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association and Us Against Dementia for information, guidance, and support.
Rebecca’s story serves as an inspiration to those facing Alzheimer’s and their families. Her message is clear: refuse to surrender, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and find joy in the journey. Her book and website are valuable resources for those seeking guidance and information about living with Alzheimer’s
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