Health promotion for the mind, body, and spirit: a college course for older adults with dementia

Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2003 Sep-Oct;18(5):282-90. doi: 10.1177/153331750301800504.


This article describes a pilot study of an experimental college course for individuals with newly diagnosed dementia, with a focus on teaching methods for promoting and maintaining optimal health. Community involvement included recruitment by the local Alzheimer's Association chapter and an off-campus site at a local assisted living center with easy access for the students. Course topics covered over the 10-week period, included modules on: physical and cognitive fitness, nutrition, recreation, communication, understanding the disease process, depression, coping, relationships, and driving issues. Stress, depression, self-efficacy, and self-esteem were evaluated both prior to and after the 10-week course. Providing education early in the course of the disease, empowers the older adult student and provides an element of personal control and dignity. The course also attempts to prevent future problems by teaching new habits and lifestyles early in the disease process. Attempts to change habits and behavior later in the course of the disease often fail due to the difficulty of learning new behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Psychophysiology / methods*
  • Self Concept
  • Self Efficacy
  • Teaching*
  • Universities