Free Dementia Training Now Offered Online

By Katrina Dupins

The course is provided by the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) at UAMS.

Laura Spradley

AGEC Outreach Coordinator Laura Spradley.

Laura Spradley, an outreach coordinator for AGEC, says the training allows officers to not only quickly identify someone showing signs of dementia, but also helps them better understand how to respond appropriately to situations or behaviors.

“People who don’t have dementia are able to go back and retrace their steps,” Spradley said. “That doesn’t happen for someone living with dementia. Coming to a hospital or into a big city where you don’t know the streets or the campus can be stressful. Stress can increase dementia symptoms and a person’s reactions may be different. That’s important to know.”

Spradley presented the online format to UAMS Police Chief Robert Barrentine. Barrentine took the course and found it so helpful that he made it a requirement for his staff.

“It’s important for officers to know because we come across people with dementia and Alzheimer’s regularly,” Barrentine said. “Baby boomers will all

be 65 or older by 2030. My officers are able to take the knowledge they’ve gained and use it on the street or on the campus here to help protect the citizens of this community and this hospital.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about 58,000 Arkansans living with Alzheimer’s disease.

In the past, AGEC only offered the class in person and it lasted two hours. Spradley says the online option has helped them to train more people in less time. There are six modules that cover everything from signs and symptoms to wandering and repetitive behaviors. Participants take a quiz at the end of each module before progressing to the next.

UAMS Police Chief Robert Barrentine

UAMS Police Chief Robert Barrentine

Spradley hopes more people will take advantage of the free online training.  Learn more about all the educational programs Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative offers at

The AGEC training is made possible through federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program under grant #U1QHP28723. Since 2015, the collaborative has provided geriatric training to improve health outcomes and the quality of health care for elderly Arkansans through research, education and training.