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How “Jeopardy!” Host Alex Trebek Stays Mentally Sharp and Physically Fit

Photos: Courtesy of Jeopardy

Alex Trebek offers a humble reflection on what’s brought him 35 years of success as the host of one of television’s most popular game shows. The answer?

“Probably my desire to please the audiences,” he shares. “To be faithful to them and to always portray a good, positive image — the image of a host who is trying to help contestants do their very best and succeed on the program.”

Indeed, the host has long been a staple in American homes, beloved for his intelligence and wit, as well as his willingness to engage with fans and “Jeopardy!” audiences. That openness extends to issues around the 78-year-old’s health.

Staying sharp

In late 2017, Trebek took a break from “Jeopardy!” to undergo surgery to remove blood clots on his brain. Happily, he made a full recovery. Now, the trivia whiz is sharing his story about screening for early-onset Alzheimer’s after noticing memory lapses, and urging others to consider testing, too.

“Alzheimer’s has certainly come to the forefront of diseases that we should be very concerned about these days,” he shares. “There isn’t a cure, but there are ways of slowing its progress down. And if you are tested early and found to be susceptible to Alzheimer’s and demonstrating some of the early signs… your doctor can recommend certain medications that will help.”

There are also ways to slow the progress of the neurodegenerative disease, Trebek suggests, including mental exercise. “I started doing crossword puzzles and it has helped immensely,” he says. “Get tested, and do the best you can to slow it down.”

Keeping fit

Trebek remains physically sharp thanks to his love of at-home DIY, a passion that was stoked early in life. “My father, who was a chef, would try to do some repairs… but he wasn’t very good at it,” he laughs. “However, on my mother’s side, all of her brothers — and there were five or six of them — were involved in the building trades. They were all construction workers or carpenters or painters, and I learned a lot watching them do their work.”

Trebek admits it’s impatience that drives much of his DIY. “I always thought that the best way to get something done was to do it yourself because you could do it faster,” he says.

Clearly home improvement is in the blood; the father of two was thrilled when his daughter, Emily, took an interest in real estate, and now he lends his sage advice and keen handwork to her home flipping efforts.

When asked if he’s the owner of a smart home, the fact whiz jokes that he doesn’t have any high-tech devices: “I do not have anything that I talk to.” But he has taken caution to weather-proof his home. “As we’ve discovered in the past week and a half here in southern California, a fire can destroy my house just like that. It’s not impervious to nature’s wrath,” he says. “But it is a constructed with a view to minimizing some of the dangers out there. I’ve got a stucco finish, not a wood finish, so that will help prevent embers from igniting blazes on the property itself.”

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