West Virginia University is offering a new online course for those who have the role of caregiver as dementia-related illnesses increase.

“Dementia care education is growing dramatically in popularity and is necessary for many people,” said Pamela Atwood, a recognized dementia care expert.

Atwood will be teaching a new online non-credit course called Dementia Care Specialist that is sponsored by WVU.

“The online course is relevant for everyone who works with dementia patients, employees of senior centers, adult daycare centers, home care, as well as for people who design for those populations, policy makers, and family caregivers,” said Sherry Kuehn, senior program coordinator of Continuing & Professional Education at WVU Extended Learning.

“Dementia care as a topic has grown in popularity due to the growing number of people affected with dementia,” Atwood said. This is the only big top 10 disease with no known effective prevention or treatment. Also, it is popular because it is more feared than dying.”

Atwood said the incidence of Alzheimer’s has grown 66 percent over the last decade, while that of Atkins disease, stroke, and cancer have declined, making this the most popular topic in healthcare today.

“The most exciting area for management of dementia care is cognitive fitness,” Atwood said. “This gives the patients an option to try to help their condition, without any side effects of medication. Just like physical fitness, the mind and memory only last as long as you continue to work out the muscle.”

The two-month online non-credit course, offered four times a year, covers a broad spectrum of essential, cutting-edge topics including: dealing with the disease, foundations, basic neurology of thinking and cognition, practical strategies of communication (management), end of life issues (legal and financial) and new best practices and approaches. Participants log into the course any time of the day or night from any computer. Course content includes audio lectures by the instructor with slides, videos, online readings and ongoing discussion with the instructor and other participants.

For additional information about the Dementia Care Specialist course or other online courses and certificates, visit http://continuinged.wvu.edu or contact Sherry Kuehn at WVU by phone at 304-293-7635 or by email at sherry.kuehn@mail.wvu.edu



CONTACT: Sherry Kuehn, Sr. Program Coordinator, WVU Extended Learning
304-293-7635, sherry.kuehn@mail.wvu.edu

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