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Online Course

Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Care

University System of Maryland via edX

Overview

Are you a current or future caregiver, or, a nurse or other healthcare professional who wants to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease? Here are the key content areas that will be addressed over 5 modules:

  • Over 5 million Americans and an estimated 24 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Given the exponential aging of the population, these numbers are expected to increase dramatically over the next few decades;
  • Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults and has both genetic and environmental factors in its development;
  • AD is characterized by a variety of cognitive symptoms, including short-term memory loss, problems with problem-solving, judgment and recognition. There are also changes in mood and neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression, hallucinations and paranoia. Behavioral expressions, include irritability, agitation, resistance to care, and wandering. In the later stages, the person is dependent in all activities of daily living and requires total care;
  • There is no known cause, effective treatment or cure, but there are currently two classes of medications approved to enhance cognitive function, as well as, lifestyle-based preventive strategies thought to possibly reduce risk;
  • There are evidence-based therapeutic approaches and communication strategies to enhance interactions and optimally, prevent behavioral expressions;
  • The key principles of care for the hospitalized person with Alzheimer’s disease are examined, including the importance of therapeutic communication strategies to prevent behavioral expressions and other complications such as delirium and falls;
  • Lastly, the essential role of the dementia caregiver is discussed, including potential consequences, stresses and gratifications, as well as the resources available.

Taught by

Mary DiBartolo

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