Conference teaches health care providers, caregivers how to prevent, manage difficult dementia behaviors

The conference will be held March 27 at the UAB School of Nursing.

AlzConfJoomla2Rita Jablonski, Ph.D.Nearly 100,000 Alabamians live with Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 180,000 family members serve as caregivers, according to Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama. Many people with dementia or Alzheimer’s often refuse or reject care, which leads to distress for their caregivers.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing is hosting a one-day conference to teach caregivers and health care providers how to prevent and manage difficult dementia behaviors. The conference will be led by Rita Jablonski, Ph.D., a professor of nursing and an expert on improving the lives of older adults, especially those with dementia.

“Dementia is not one disease. It encompasses several types. Even in one type, like Alzheimer’s disease, there are variations that result in unusual behaviors or challenges,” Jablonski said. “The goals of this conference include presenting an overview of the different types of dementias and their specific challenges, helping caregivers understand the triggers for many behaviors, and synthesizing the information in order to assist participants with modifying and adapting the strategies for their unique situations.”

Providers will receive foundational information about the various types of dementia, associated neuropathology and some helpful hints for better identifying different dementias, such as frontotemporal dementias and dementia with Lewy Bodies. Pharmacological management will also be discussed.

“Providers will be better prepared to help caregivers manage common dementia-related behaviors using non-drug strategies and approaches,” Jablonski explained.

Caregivers will learn how dementia-related changes in the brain result in many of the behaviors they encounter while caring for someone with dementia. They will also learn specific strategies to prevent and manage many common behaviors such as refusals, irritability, sundowning, repetitiveness, wandering and requests to “go home.” 

Much of the conference will involve role-playing with Jablonski demonstrating real-time, specific approaches and techniques.  

The conference is Friday, March 27, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. It will be held at the UAB School of Nursing, located at 1701 University Blvd. The cost is $150 for health care providers and $50 for caregivers. Registration includes refreshments, lunch, parking and course materials. Click here to register. For more information, email