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Alzheimer’s Disease: The Disease and Latest Research

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Alzheimer’s Disease: The Disease and Latest Research

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This course will be discontinued effective October 1st, 2018. You will have until December 31st, 2018 to complete the course and print your certificate. The replacement course is located here.

This course is not approved by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Due to our aging population the number of people with AD will increase if no prevention methods emerge. It is important for residential care and assisted living administrators to understand the disease and current research efforts related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Course Information:
  • Online Training Course
  • Credit Hours: 3
  • Overview of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
  • Research Related to Families and Other Caregivers
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This Training course is delivered 100% online through our Online Campus. In order to enroll you in a course we will need to collect your First Name, Last Name and Email Address.

When you place your order we will create an account for you, or add the courses to your existing account if you are a return customer. Access to the Online Campus is based on your email address. If you are a return customer, please purchase using the same email address used previously to avoid creating a duplicate account.

The course(s) you purchase will be available within 10 minutes of purchase and your login information will be sent to the email address you provide.
 Purchasing Courses for Others Purchasing Courses for Others:

This Training course is delivered 100% online through our Online Campus. If you are purchasing for others or your employees, please make sure to provide the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address of the person who you are purchasing for.

IMPORTANT: Access to the Online Campus is based on email addresses. If you are purchasing for multiple people, each person must have a unique email address to access the Online Campus. DO NOT USE THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS FOR DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS!

When you place your order we will create accounts for each individual you are purchasing for. If you are a return customer, please purchase using the same email address used previously to avoid creating duplicate accounts.

Example: Jim is buying a course for Bob. Jim will provide Bob’s First, Last and Email before the course is added to cart. Jim then uses his personal information for the checkout process.

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The course(s) you purchase will be available within 10 minutes of purchase and each person’s login information will be sent to the email address you provide.


Topics addressed will include an overview of how the healthy brain functions, the causes Alzheimer’s disease (AD), progression of AD, diagnostic interventions, medications, and lifestyle interventions. Research related to families and other caregivers will also be discussed.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, the participant should be able to:

  • Understand a basic overview of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Identify the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on many Americans today as well as for those tomorrow.
  • Discover the difference between a healthy brain and one with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Discuss diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, causes and risk factors.
  • Learn about updated research discoveries in both early and late onset dementia.
  • List current treatments commonly used.
  • Address three main stages of Alzheimer’s disease and common behavioral characteristics of each.
  • Develop strategies to provide training to caregivers in your assisted living.
  • Explain the effects on caregivers who provide person centered care to persons with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Learn valuable resources to use for support in caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Course Outline:

Hour One

  • I. Basic Overview of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • a. What is Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • i. Definition of Dementia:
  • 1. “An observable, often irreversible, decline in mental abilities.”
  • ii. Definition of Alzheimer’s Disease:
  • 1. The most common form of dementia.
  • 2. An age-related, irreversible, neurogenerative brain disorder that develops over a period of years
  • iii. Symptoms
  • 1. Memory loss and confusion
  • 2. Behavior and personality changes
  • 3. Decline in cognitive abilities
  • 4. Inability to recognize family and friends
  • 5. Ultimately the person will experience a sever loss of mental function
  • iv. Changes in the brain
  • 1. The Healthy Brain vs. Brain with Alzheimer’s Disease
  • a. Alzheimer’s breaks down connections between certain nerve cells in the brain, causing nerve cells in the brain to stop working, and eventually many of the cells in the brain die
  • b. To understand how this works, you must first learn how the healthy brain functions
  • c. Key Terms Include:
  • i. Cerebral Hemispheres
  • ii. Cerebral Cortex
  • iii. Cerebellum
  • iv. Brain Stem
  • v. Limbic System
  • vi. Neurons
  • vii. Axons, Dendrites and Neurotransmitters
  • viii. Hippocampus
  • 2. How the disease specifically affects the brain
  • a. Key Terms Include:
  • i. Amyloid Plaques, Beta-Amyloid
  • ii. APP-Amyloid Precursor Protein
  • iii. Enzymes
  • iv. Oligomers
  • v. Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)
  • vi. Neurofibrillary Tangles
  • vii. Tau
  • viii. Loss of connections between cells and cell death (Brain Atrophy)
  • v. Diagnosis
  • 1. Diagnosed by an individual’s primary care physician
  • 2. May use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to identify changes in brain
  • 3. Proposal for new criteria and guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease according the Alzheimer’s Association report in 2011
  • a. Identify 3 stages of Alzheimer’s disease, with the initial stage occurring prior to any visible symptoms
  • b. Incorporate biomarker tests
  • b. Is Alzheimer’s Disease A Normal Part Of Aging?
  • i. Causes and risk factors
  • 1. The highest known risk factor for AD is advancing age; however, AD is not typically part of normal aging
  • a. Majority of persons with AD are age 65 or older
  • 2. Family history
  • 3. Genetics
  • 4. Lifestyle
  • 5. Environment
  • ii. Reversible vs. irreversible
  • 1. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible form of dementia
  • 2. There is currently no cure
  • 3. Active medical management can aid in the process of improving the quality of life for the person with AD
  • II. Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on Persons Today and Tomorrow
  • a. Statistics on the number of persons with AD in the United States today.
  • i. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in nine people age 65 years and older has Alzheimer’s diseases (11%)
  • ii. In 2013, it was estimated that over five million Americans of all ages has Alzheimer’s disease.
  • b. The rapid increase of persons with AD in the near future.
  • i. As the population ages we will see the numbers jump drastically high due to the large population of Baby Boomers.
  • ii. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death and has no cure

Hour Two

  • III. Three Main Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • a. Early Stage (Mild)
  • i. Memory loss or other cognitive deficits are noticeable, yet the person can compensate for them and continue to function independently
  • ii. Behaviors
  • 1. Communication issues surface
  • 2. Increased confusion
  • 3. Word/name-finding problems
  • 4. Decreased ability to remember names of new people
  • 5. Repeats questions/phrases/stories
  • 6. Less able to organize, plan, or think logically
  • 7. Increase difficulty with routine tasks
  • 8. Other challenges begin to arise as well
  • iii. Characteristics
  • 1. The loss of abilities is often mild at the early stage, and with little help, the individual can continue living independently as before
  • b. Mid Stage (Moderate)
  • i. Mental abilities decline, the personality changes, and physical problems develop so that the person becomes more dependent on caregivers
  • ii. Behaviors
  • 1. Becomes apathetic
  • 2. Suspicious or paranoid
  • 3. Delusional
  • 4. May demonstrate aggressive behavior
  • 5. Inappropriate sexual behaviors
  • 6. Rummages through/hides things
  • 7. Restless and repetitive movements
  • 8. Wandering and Sundowing
  • iii. Characteristics
  • 1. Can no longer think logically or clearly
  • 2. Disconnected from reality
  • 3. May not recognize self in mirror
  • 4. Needs assistance choosing proper clothing for season/occasion
  • 5. May need help getting dressed
  • 6. Impaired communication skills worsen
  • c. Late Stage (Severe)
  • i. Complete deterioration of the personality and loss of control over bodily functions requires total dependence on others for even the most basic activities of daily living
  • ii. Behaviors
  • 1. May refuse to eat/drink
  • 2. May quit urinating
  • 3. Little response to touch
  • 4. Sensory organs shut down
  • 5. May only feel cold and discomfort
  • 6. Exhausted
  • 7. Personality changes and idiosyncratic behavior becomes extreme during the late-stage of AD
  • iii. Characteristics
  • 1. Plaques and tangles are widespread throughout the brain
  • 2. Increased shrinkage of the brain
  • 3. Unable to recognize family and loved ones
  • 4. Unable to communicate
  • 5. Completely dependent on others
  • 6. May become bedridden
  • IV. Current Research Discoveries
  • a. Common medication used to fight the disease
  • i. There is no cure!
  • ii. FDA approved AD drugs:
  • 1. Aricept/donepezil
  • 2. Razadyne/galantamine
  • 3. Namenda/memantine
  • 4. Exelon/rivastigmine
  • 5. Cognex/tacrine
  • b. Research on early diagnosis
  • i. Researchers are searching for new methods to treat AD
  • ii. They hope to discover future treatments that could target AD at the earliest stages, before irreversible damage to the brain or mental decline occurs
  • iii. “The Quest For Biomarkers” (17min video)
  • c. Common techniques to assist in prevention
  • i. Lifestyle modification
  • ii. Healthy nutrition and exercise
  • iii. Education
  • iv. Socialization
  • v. Preventing Head Trauma
  • V. Taking Care of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease
  • a. Examples of the effect Alzheimer’s disease has on the care provider
  • i. Over 17 billion hours of unpaid care was provided by Americans to individuals with AD in 2012
  • ii. It is important to take care of yourself in order to provide the highest quality of care for others.
  • 1. Studies show that caring for a person with AD is highly stressful and can contribute to negative physical and psychological health outcomes
  • iii. Techniques to reduce the burden of caregiving:
  • 1. Understand needs change as AD progresses
  • 2. Traditions and attitudes about caregiving vary across cultural groups
  • 3. Use of multiple types of support over an extended period of time helps caregivers
  • 4. Become educated
  • 5. Help caregivers deal with the complicated issue of whether and when to place a loved one in a long term care home
  • 6. Maintain physical activity
  • 7. Reduce stress and improve immune system
  • b. The significance and benefits of proper training
  • i. Why you should train your staff when working with persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • 1. Lack of adequate training focused on the needs of caring for those with AD
  • 2. High turnover
  • 3. Increased risk of stress and burnout
  • 4. Prevent abuse and neglect
  • 5. Provide quality person centered care
  • ii. How to implement persons centered care techniques with your residents.
  • 1. Implement Core Values
  • a. Dignity
  • b. Respect
  • c. Choice
  • d. Independence
  • e. Privacy
  • iii. How to handle stress and burnout when working with residents, who have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
  • 1. Ten Symptoms of Stress according to the Alzheimer’s Association
  • a. Denial
  • b. Anger
  • c. Social Withdrawal
  • d. Anxiety
  • e. Depression
  • f. Exhaustion
  • g. Sleeplessness
  • h. Irritability
  • i. Lack of connection
  • j. Health problems
  • 2. Alzheimer’s Association’s Tips For Managing Stress:
  • a. Know what resources are available
  • b. Get help
  • c. Use relaxation techniques and deep breathing
  • d. Get moving
  • e. Make time for yourself
  • f. Take care of yourself
  • g. Education yourself
  • c. Resources
  • i. National organizations involved in providing resources about Alzheimer’s disease and support
  • ii. Education and research materials
  • 1. Take advantage of online resources
  • iii. Local community support
  • 1. Discover local organizations:
  • a. Community Centers
  • b. Churches
  • c. Colleges
  • d. Chapter Groups
  • VI. Conclusion

Cynthia Tarlton, RN, Josh Allen, R.N.

Josh Allen is a Registered Nurse with over 20 years of experience in senior living. As the Director of InTouch at Home, Josh oversees all aspects of business development, care, services, and operations for the organization. As a part of the SRG Senior Living family of companies, InTouch at Home delivers personalized care and services to clients living in senior living communities as well as private residences across three states.

Josh also serves on the board of the American Assisted Living Nurses Association, and represents AALNA on the boards of the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living and Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations. Josh has previously served as President and CEO of Care and Compliance Group, a leading training solutions provider.

Cynthia Tarlton, RN received her LVN at Shasta College in Redding California in 1986 and her RN, Associate Arts in Nursing at Palomar College in San Marcos California were she received recognition for the highest ranking class-NCLEX-RN in July of 1988. Since 1989 she has been the Director of Nursing at several Assisted Living facilities throughout California. Cynthia has been the lead instructor for Community Education, LLC and has over 6 years of experience providing onsite consultation to administrators in residential and community care facilities.

Additional Information

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Course Type Online Course

Alzheimer’s Disease: The Disease and Latest Research