Dementia expert to speak at UB on caring for nation’s rapidly aging population

Younger woman helping older woman walk.

Release Date: April 5, 2018 This content is archived.

Ann Kolanowski.

Ann Kolanowski

“Memory loss and associated cognitive problems are among the most feared and common problems of older adults. ”
Ann Kolanowski, professor of nursing in the Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Ann Kolanowski, an internationally renowned expert on dementia and the complex care needs of the elderly, will discuss the difficulties of delirium during the University at Buffalo School of Nursing’s 21st Annual Bonnie Bullough Lecture.

Kolanowski will present, “The Challenge of Delirium in People Living with Dementia,” an exploration of the differences between delirium and dementia and caring for people with both conditions. The lecture will also share her recent findings on the effect of cognitive activities for people with delirium and dementia.

The lecture is the keynote event of the School of Nursing’s 6th annual Research Day, which unites nursing scholars across Western New York to discuss and share advancements in the study of pressing health care issues. This year’s event will focus on caring for aging populations.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday, April 20, from 3-4 p.m. in 403 Hayes Hall on the UB South Campus. A reception will follow. Guests are required to register by April 13.

“Today, people are living longer lives. But we are also seeing an increase in the number of older adults living with dementia and other cognitive impairments, along with the unique care challenges associated with these conditions,” says Yu-Ping Chang, PhD, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor and associate dean for research and scholarship in the School of Nursing.

“Having Dr. Kolanowski as a speaker for this year’s event is not only relevant to the community, but is important for our school’s students and mission. Nurses often provide the front-line health care for older adults. Along with nurse scientists, they have been leaders in elder care and will continue to play increasingly critical roles in the care for older adults in the decades ahead.”

Dementia, a group of progressive conditions that impair memory, thinking and behavior, affects more than 5 million Americans, or roughly one in 10 people age 65 and older. The number of people diagnosed with the disease is expected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., more than breast and prostate cancer combined. And the disease takes its toll on the economy as well, costing the nation more than $250 billion each year in health care, with an additional $230 billion in unpaid care provided by caregivers, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

“Memory loss and associated cognitive problems are among the most feared and common problems of older adults,” says Kolanowski, PhD, professor of nursing in the Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing and professor of psychiatry in the College of Medicine.

“Currently, there is no cure or effective treatment for these diseases; the cost to our country exceeds $250 billion per year. There is an urgent need for research that will improve the health and financial outcomes of people living with these diseases, their families and society.”

About Ann Kolanowski

Kolanowski’s studies have explored behavior in elderly people with dementia, dementia’s role in the drug burden in nursing homes, and treatments for dementia and delirium that don’t involve the prescription of drugs.

She has published more than 120 articles in academic journals and has received numerous honors, including the Doris Schwartz Nursing Award from the Gerontological Society of America and the John A. Hartford Geriatric Nursing Research Award from the Eastern Nursing Research Society.

Kolanowski is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America. She is also an adjunct professor in the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing.

She holds a doctorate in nursing research and theory development from New York University, a master’s degree in adult health and aging from Pennsylvania State University, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Misericordia University.

About the 21st Bonnie Bullough Lecture

The Bullough Lecture was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Bonnie Bullough, dean of the UB School of Nursing from 1980-91. Bullough developed the first nurse practitioner program in California in 1968, and one of the first master’s degree programs in nursing in the U.S.

Bullough is remembered at UB for her focus on faculty development and establishing the school’s doctoral program. The endowed lecture brings prominent leaders to the school to speak on topics relevant to the nursing profession.

Other presentations on Research Day include:

  • “Prescription Opioid Misuse in Older Adults,” by Yu-Ping Chang, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor and associate dean for research and scholarship in the School of Nursing.
  • “Navigating Life’s Final Transition: Concerns of Patients, Families and Care Providers,” by Mary Ann Meeker, DNS, assistant dean of the PhD program and chair of the Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences in the School of Nursing.
  • “Screening, Diagnosis and Management of Neuro-degenerative Disorders in Primary Care: An Interprofessional Approach,” by Linda Steeg, DNP, clinical associate professor in the School of Nursing, and Bruce Troen, MD, professor and chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • “Sleep and Aging: Pivoting to the Future,” by Rebecca Lorenz, PhD, associate professor in the School of Nursing.
  • “Using Big Data Science to Develop and Validate a Predictive Model Identifying Homebound Older Adults Who May Benefit from Discussions about End-of-Life Goals for Care,” by Suzanne Sullivan, PhD, adjunct instructor in the School of Nursing.

A poster session of research presentations by UB nursing students will follow.

Research Day is sponsored by the Bonnie Bullough and Margaret A. Nelson Endowment. For more information on the events, visit the School of Nursing's website.

Media Contact Information

Marcene Robinson is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email or visit our list of current university media contacts.