Dementia Care of the Elder

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECS 103

       Course Name: Dementia Care of the Elder

       Credits: 1 (1 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ECS 101 recommended

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course focuses on educational concepts and practices for the care and safety of elders experiencing dementia. Topics include signs, symptoms, and causes of dementia, as well as caregiver strategies for persons with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease will be studied, including stages, symptom progression, and behaviors. Focus will be on understanding the disease and meeting the person’s needs using person-centered concepts, techniques, and strategies. Caregiver support and community resources will be explored.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:  

  • Differentiate between normal aging and dementia.
  • Describe signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Recognize behaviors caused by dementia as a form of communication.
  • Develop effective strategies and techniques for care.
  • Discuss the need for caregiver support

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Module 1

  1. Cognitive Impairment
    1. Alteration in cognition
      1. Normal
      2. Disease
    2. Reversible Dementia
      1. Types
      2. Signs and Symptoms
    3. Non-Reversible Dementia
      1. Types
      2. Signs and Symptoms

Module 2

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease
    1. Changes in the Brain
    2. Signs and Symptoms
    3. Disease Progression
    4. Behavior issues, behaviors as communication
      1. Rummaging/Hoarding
      2. Wandering
      3. Anxiety/Agitation
      4. Catastrophic reaction
      5. Sun downing
  2. Person-Centered Care/strategies/techniques
    1. Effective communication techniques
    2. Ability focused care
    3. Approaches to activities of daily living
    4. Therapeutic activities
    5. Normalization activities
  3. Dining experience/nutritional needs
    1. Family atmosphere
    2. Safety needs
    3. Approaches

Module 3

  1. Impacts of Cognitive Impairment
    1. Society
    2. Family
    3. Individual
  2. Caregiver Support
    1. Community resources
    2. Communicating with the health care team
    3. Preventing burnout
    4. Self-Care

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instruction and training will be delivered in hybrid format. Weekly class sessions will provide a supportive, interactive learning environment and foster a community of learners through mini lectures, discussion, group projects, role playing and sensitization exercises.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

A companion CD is provided for the course.  It includes the course syllabus, course handouts, assignments, case studies and resources for Elder care.
Requirements for Use: DVD player, computer.  Course will be taught as face-to-face with an optional media-based component.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Media-based components, both television-viewable and computer-readable DVDs, will allow students to access complementary instructional materials at personally convenient times and places.
Books will be referenced similar to:
Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers, A Practical Tips Guide & Pocket Reference of Tips and Strategies
Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease, from The National Institute on Aging

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

In order to successfully complete the course, the student must pass the course with C or better in order have the course apply toward a Certificate in Person centered Elder Support.  Points will be awarded for exams and quizzes as well as written assignments and projects. Total point accumulation must equal a C or better. All assignments are required by the due date in order to earn points.

XI.   Other Course Information

In order to meet the requirements for a Certificate in Person-Centered Elder Support, students may wish to register for the 3 courses concurrently.  Students must successfully complete PES 101, “The World of the Elder,” PES 102 “Person-Centered Communication,” and PES 103 “Dementia Care of the Elder” to be eligible for the certificate.

Students who wish to be awarded a certificate must have a Fingerprint Criminal Background Check for the IDPH Health Care Worker Registry. Criminal background checks are required and initiated during the PES 101 course.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.