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As baby boomers age, the 21st century workforce is challenged to care for an exponentially growing population of persons with dementia. This course provides essential knowledge and understanding about neurological diseases that affect cognition and memory, and practical application of effective skills for supporting persons with dementia. Nearly all disciplines benefit from expertise in Dementia Care Specialists, as do families of persons with dementia.

Come away with increased knowledge in how to care for persons with dementia.  Expertise in this growing area of human services also enhances your resume.

Two month course, Pamela Atwood, Hebrew Health Care, instructor.

Optional Recommended Further Reading

The 36-Hour Day, Nancy Mace & Peter Rabins
Learning to Speak Alzheimer's, Joanne Koenig-Coste
Hiding the Stranger in the Mirror, Cameron Camp


outlineCourse Outline

Unit 1
An Introduction to Cognition and Aging
-Normal Cognition & Aging
-Cognitive Fitness
-Myths about Memory Loss

Unit 2
Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders
-Alzheimer’s Disease
-“Pigs Disease?” - the Related Disorders
-Younger Onset AD
-Mixed Dementia

Unit 3    
Stages of Progressive Memory Loss
-Assessment Tools
-Reisberg Scales

Unit 4    
Family Caregivers: Issues and Action Steps
-The Evolving Caregiver
-Avoiding Role Reversal
-Finance and Legal Issues
-Special Issues: Driving, Household Management & Wandering
-Red Flag Issues

Unit 5
Options in Care
-Community Services
-When is more care needed?
-LTC options

Unit 6
Managing Moderate Dementia
-Treating Symptoms
-Changes in Communication
-Psychological Issues: Emotions, Hallucinations & Delusions
-Common Behavioral Manifestations
-Total Engagement: Arts-based Interventions for Wellness
-Humor and a Lighthearted Perspective

Unit 7
Caring for People with Moderate to Severe Dementia
-Anticipating and Assisting with Personal care needs
-Hygiene Issues
-Engagement in Living
-Critical Care: Pain Management, Challenging Behaviors, and Safety Issues
-Wellness through Person Centered Care

Unit 8
With Love and Compassion: End of Life Issues
-True Options: Advance Directives
-Palliative Care and Hospice
-Nutrition, Ambulation and End Stage Needs

Question MarkAbout online learning

Online learning is a fun, enjoyable and very productive way to learn. Millions of people are learning online each year. You will engage with the instructor and other participants. You will get to know your instructor and other participants. You may make friends. It’s easy. It’s fun.

GearsHow the Course Works

It is easy to participate in your online course. After you register, you will be given a web address to go to get into your online classroom. You will have a password and use your email address and password to gain access.

Once inside the online classroom, here’s what you can expect.

CalendarParticipate when you want

You can participate any time of day or evening. The online classroom is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are no live real-time requirements or meetings. You decide when you participate.
For the best learning, participants should log into the course on 2-3 different days of the week.

ChecklistWhat you will do

For each Unit, you will:

  • Read the print readings (about 20 pages a week)
  • Have the option of accessing the online readings
  • Listen to the audio presentation for the Unit and view the slides
  • Have the option of taking a self-quiz to see how much you have learned
  • Engage in written online discussion with your instructor and other participants

For best learning, you should make one or more comments at 2-3 different times each week.
The content (readings, audio lectures, slides) and self quizzes are accessible for the entire course, so you can work ahead, or go back and review again, at your convenience.


The Discussion for each Unit lasts one week. All comments are made in writing and can be made at any time of the day or night.

Your instructor will log into the Discussion area at least once a day and answer questions, make comments, and respond to comments by you and the other participants.

We encourage you to make 2-3 comments each week to maximize your learning and enjoyment of the course.

It’s easy. It’s fun.

Next offering(s):
-Next session coming soon-

$495 USD

Ave. hours 32, 3.2 CEUs/ILUs

About Your Instructor

Pamela K. Atwood, MA, CDP, QDCP, CLL, is Director of Life Enrichment & Dementia Care at Hebrew Health Care, Inc., of West Hartford, Connecticut.

Pamela Atwood has worked with older adults professionally for more than 20 years, and in 2001 earned a Master's Degree in Gerontology and Human Development from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford. She is accredited through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and is recognized as a Qualified Dementia Care Provider by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Ms. Atwood is also an adjunct faculty member of the gerontology program at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford.  Before joining Hebrew Health Care, she was the director of programs for the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. She also has many years of experience as a community case manager and worked in several skilled nursing facilities.

What some students say:

"I loved this course. The format was great. The information was just what I was looking for as a refresher on Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia." - Allison Musa

"I am thankful to have had Pam Atwood as an instructor and will always appreciate her openness in sharing her passion, knowledge, experience, and wisdom in the field of Dementia Care." - Sheila Mitchell 

Directional ArrowsCourse Objectives

  • To provide an understanding of dementia and disorders that cause cognitive changes in adults
  • To describe the stages of progressive, degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders
  • To provide standardized approaches for care of persons with dementia
  • To discuss the influence of family dynamics, finances and end of life care options
  • To provide information on community care options for persons with dementia
  • To provide steps for assessment and management of challenging issues in dementia care (e.g. driving, resistance to care, mood/behavior problems)
  • To explore new areas in dementia care, including cognitive fitness and complementary therapies

Puzzle PiecesCourse Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, you will:

  • Describe at least three (3) causes of dementia.
  • List seven (7) stages of progressive, degenerative dementia.
  • Identify four (4) symptoms of caregiver stress/burden.
  • Describe three (3) strategies for managing caregiver stress/burden.
  • Discuss factors which influence a person’s ability to avoid nursing home care,
  • Identify three (3) essential care techniques for working with persons with dementia.
  • List behavior management strategies to minimize disruptive/challenging behaviors.
  • Describe at least five (5) cognitive fitness activities to promote brain health.
Completion Requirements