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Living with Dementia: Impact on Individuals, Caregivers, Communities and Societies

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A Massive Open Online Course
Dementia MOOC


Health professionals and students, family caregivers, friends of and affected individuals, and others interested in learning about dementia and quality care will benefit from completing the course. Led by Drs. Nancy Hodgson and Laura Gitlin, participants will acquire foundational knowledge in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurocognitive disorders in this 5-week course.

About the Course

In this state of the art course we will be discussing the global challenge of living with dementia for individuals, their families, communities and society.  We start by examining the brain of a person with dementia to provide a basic overview of disease pathology as well as current diagnostic criteria, the stages of dementia, and the trajectory of illness. Next, we consider the consequences of dementia for individuals and examine specific strategies for helping people remain engaged and with quality of life. We then focus on the impact of dementia on family members, communities and societies at large.  Theoretical and practical frameworks are discussed to help inform ways to support and care for individuals "living with" dementia and their caregivers.

  • Course Syllabus

    Each module is divided into multiple video segments that can be grouped as three or four lectures or viewed separately. Structured exercises and activities are provided that are designed to challenge students to advocate for a new and more humane approach to dementia care.

    WEEK I: The Brain

    • History of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and Their Global Impact
    • Pathophysiology of Dementia
    • The New Trajectory of Dementia
    • The Challenge of Diagnosis

    WEEK 2: The Person

    • Complicated Presentations: Assessing Neuropsychiatric Symptoms
    • Assessing the Unmet Need of Family Caregivers
    • Assessing the Role of the Home and Community Environment in Supporting Families Living with Dementia

    WEEK 3: The Home and Family Environment

    • Maintaining a Sense of Self from Beginning to End
    • Role of Home and Community in Dementia Support
    • Psychosocial Processes Part One
    • Psychosocial and Environmental Processes Part Two

    WEEK 4: The Caregiving Community

    • It Takes a Team: The Role of the Interprofessional Team in a Collaborative Care Model
    • A Model for Identifying and Treating Behavioral Symptoms
    • Support the Patient: The Role of Meaningful Activities
    • Support the Family Caregiver: End Stage Disease and Palliative Care  

    WEEK 5: Social and Policy Challenges

    • Q and A  "Ask us anything"
    • Finding a Cure: Current Research Efforts
    • The Role of Technology in Dementia Care
  • Enrollment Options

    Those interested in participating in this course have three options:

    1. Free Enrollment (Audit only; No certificate):  Select “Audit Only” to enroll in the course for FREE.  Participants will have access to all course material except graded assessment and will not receive a certificate of completion.
    2. Purchase Course:  Select “Purchase Course” and follow the enrollment steps.  You will be required to pay a $49 non-refundable fee.  Upon course completion you will receive a certificate, which employers can search. What’s this?
  • Suggested Readings

    As a student enrolled in this course, you will have free access to selected content for the duration of the course. All readings were selected by the instructors specifically for this course.

    The following readings are suggested but not required:

    Gitlin, L. & Piersol, C.V. A Caregiver's Guide to Dementia. (2014). 

    Mace, N.L. & Rabins, P.V. (2011).  The 36-hour day:  A family guide to caring for people who have Alzheimer disease, related dementias, and memory loss (5th ed.)Baltimore, MD, JHU Press.

    Rabins, P.V., Lyketsos, C.G. & Steele, C.D.  (2006).  Practical dementia care. (2nd ed.). New York, NY:  Oxford University Press. 

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What resources will I need for this class?

    Only a working computer and internet connection.

  • About the Center for Innovative Care in Aging

    A new, inter-professional initiative to develop, advance, and support the well-being of older adults and their families is now a reality at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. The Center for Innovative Care in Aging uses novel approaches to enhance the yield of programs, policies, practices, and tools to help diverse older adults and family members remain healthy, independent, and living in their own homes and communities.

    Visit the Center for Innovative Care in Aging website and join their mailing list


Enroll in the course

After clicking the "Enroll Now" button, select either the "Audit Only" (free; no certifidcate) or "Purchase Course" ($49; certification) option.

Offered Online

Approximately 5 modules
3-5 hours of work / module


First offering starts December 5, 2016

MOOC offering will start on the first Monday of every month.

Contact Information


Course Content
Center for Innovative Care in Aging


FREE (Access to materials; No certificate)

$49 (Certificate)