Health Care Professionals: Online course for Practical Discussions about Cognitive Impairment with Patients

Discussing memory concerns with your patients can be difficult. Alzheimer’s and other dementias are complex, and patients often have a lot of questions and concerns.

To help you prepare for these visits, the Alzheimer’s Association® presents Challenging Conversations About Dementia.

The five-module online course covers:

  1. Counseling the Worried Well Patient: Review of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Risk Factors
  2. Diagnosing the Cause of Dementia: Why Is This Important?
  3. The Road Ahead to a Differential Diagnosis: What Can the Patient Expect?
  4. Caring for a Patient Newly Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease: What Needs to be Addressed?
  5. Driving Retirement: Challenging Conversations in Community Mobility

In this free course, you’ll receive information to confidently approach the detection, diagnostic and care-planning process for your patients with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Complete this course at

Reducing Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations

Among people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, 25% experience a preventable hospitalization, and such preventable hospitalizations cost Medicare nearly $2.6 billion in 2013. Hospitalizations for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias also increase risk for delirium, falls, pressure ulcers, untreated pain, and functional decline — impacts that can hinder or delay recovery after a hospitalization, create new care challenges, or intensify the existing burden of care.

A new public health policy brief from the Alzheimer’s Association — Reducing Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations for People Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias — identifies ways that state and local public health leaders can help reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations.

Types of Dementia

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, it is not the only kind. Below is a list of other types of diseases that can also affect brain health.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies: A type of dementia caused by abnormal clumps of proteins called Lewy bodies that damage brain cells. Symptoms include changes in thinking, visual hallucinations, slowness and stiffness of movements, tremors, and acting out of dreams.

Parkinson’s disease Dementia: A decline in thinking and reasoning that develops in someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease due to damage to brain cells by Lewy bodies. Symptoms are similar to dementia with Lewy Bodies.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD): A group of dementia’s caused by a loss of brain cells, due to damage by a protein called tau, in the front and side areas of the brain. These areas of the brain control personality, behavior, and language. Typical symptoms include changes in personality, behavior, and problems with language. Most people with FTD are diagnosed at a younger age (40-60) than other types of dementia.

Vascular Dementia:A type of dementia caused by blocked blood flow to the brain. Changes in thinking can occur suddenly following a stroke or get worse over time due to many small blockages. Symptoms depend on the part of the brain affected, but often include confusion and problems paying attention. Risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, heart disease, and a family history.

Mixed Dementia: A condition in which changes in thinking and memory are linked to more than one type of dementia. This most frequently occurs when Alzheimer’s disease coexists with vascular dementia, but can also occur with Lewy bodies.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: A disorder in which there is a buildup of fluid in the brain. Symptoms include problems with thinking, difficulty walking, and loss of bladder control.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: A rare, fatal brain disease caused by the abnormal folding of proteins in the brain, known as prions. These abnormally folded prions destroy brain cells leading to a rapid decline in thinking, as well as unusual muscle movements, difficulty walking, and mood changes.

Huntington’s Disease: A brain disorder caused by an abnormal gene located on chromosome 4. Symptoms include unusual muscle movements, problems with thinking and reasoning, and changes in mood.

Posterior Cortical Atrophy: A loss of brain cells in the part of the brain located in the back of the head, an area that is responsible for visual information. Symptoms include blurry vision that is not improved with glasses and difficulty with visual tasks. Some patients may also develop problems with attention and memory.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and these other types of dementia visit Types of Dementia from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dementia and Abuse

June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is important to know that people with dementia are at increased risk for abuse and there is support available to help safeguard against abuse, through Area Agencies on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association and other ICRN partners. if you suspect abuse of an adult over 60 or an adult 18-59 with a disability (such as dementia), report it to the Illinois Department on Aging at 1-866-800-1409.

For some important facts about dementia and elder abuse, click here.