Demenz und Ernährung
Demenz und Ernährung

Demenz und Ernährung

FH JOANNEUM, FH Wiener Neustadt, Medical University of Graz, Sterz - Steirisches Ernährungskompetenzzentrum, University College of Teacher Education Styria

Dr. Sandra Schüssler, Wolfgang Staubmann BSc MSc, Manuela Hatz MEd, Eva Resinger BA Bsc , Mag. Dr. Brigitte Pleyer, Dr. Verena Tatzer, Ulrike Selzer-Haslauer, Helga Fabianits, Prof. Sandra Holasek


Duration 6 units
Unit 6 hours/unit
Licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Participants 1910
Availability Unlimited
Start Date 17 January 2023
Costs € 0.00

General Course Information

Over 55 million people worldwide are affected by dementia and this number will continue to increase in the future, thus leading to challenges of health systems. In-depth knowledge of health professionals about dementia and its negative effects, such as nutritional problems, is necessary to pursue targeted prevention strategies and to provide adequate treatment and care. 

Therefore, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on dementia and food nutrition was developed for the health sector.

Due to its conception, the MOOC will be available free of charge for various health care professions in German-speaking countries. In the future, an English-language version is also planned in order to further increase the amount of people that can profit from the MOOC.

This course is created by several university partners and therefore looks at many aspects around this topic. The target group of the course is all health professionals as well as interested lay people, which is why the course has been designed in the simplest way possible.

Also you might be interested in at least parts of this course.

The course has been designed with the intention of providing content for all health professionals and interested lay people. Both theoretical and practical learning contents offer a wide range of help also for interested lay people who, for example, care for a family member with incipient dementia.

In addition, the course is intended to serve as a basis for persons in health care professions to deepen their knowledge in one thematic area of the partners. With the positive completion of the performance review of this course, you are entitled to apply to one of the universities and take an examination in this field.


Course Content


The content is divided into six lessons.

  1. Overview, definitions, signs of dementia: What does dementia mean and what signs indicate it? What can trigger dementia and what effects, such as malnutrition, can dementia have?
  2. Risk factors, prevention and nutritional concepts: How can dementia be prevented, for example, through nutrition? What nutritional concepts and food choices are recommended?
  3. Effects of dementia on dietary behaviour: Which areas of nutrition can be affected by dementia and what impact can this have?
  4. Practical aspects of nutrition in dementia: What practice recommendations and interventions for nutritional problems can be used to provide adequate nutritional care for people with dementia?
  5. The role of occupational therapy: eating aids, cutlery and the role of occupational therapy in dementia.
  6. New technologies as support: What technical support can be applied in dementia in the area of nutrition?

Course Goals


  • Graduates know how to recognise dementia and what connections there are to nutrition.
  • Risk factors can be avoided and suitable nutritional concepts can be selected.
  • Graduates can make appropriate food choices for a balanced diet / recommendations and portion sizes and know about differences between the Austrian (Styrian) and Mediterranean food pyramid. They know how to document eating and drinking behaviour and can use the B.A.U.M. principle to improve drinking behaviour.
  • Graduates can give practical help and take appropriate measures in case of food refusal and appetite stimulation.
  • Graduates can name possible effects of neurocognitive impairments on activities of daily living, especially in relation to nutrition, are sensitised to activities for people with dementia and can suggest simplifications of activities and support and offer individual support and aids for eating and drinking.
  • New technologies can be selected and used sensibly and appropriately.

Previous Knowledge


No previous knowledge is necessary.

This course should be able to be attended by interested people dealing with these issues in their private life, maybe helping a relative, as well as people working in health professions.

For a certificate you should be able to answer most of the questions and for a university exam for ECTS please contact the related partnering university. Write to the person involved in the creation of the course who is from the university regarding this.

You can also submit this certificate to professional associations to receive continuing education credits.

This includes, that you are welcome to submit the confirmation of participation with your MTD-CPD certificate application at Please refer to the guidelines and instructions of the Professional Association of Dietetics.

Course Procedure


After an introduction of the respective partners and partner universities, you will get an overview of dementia and connections to nutrition.

Afterwards, you will delve into certain fields, starting with prevention and recognition from dietary considerations and practical tips to help through technology.

Please read the material carefully and use the videos to help you.

After each lesson, reflect on what you have learned with those around you and take a look at further literature.

If the topic is of particular interest to you, we suggest further courses such as 

about nutrition geragogy and about nutrition of the elderly.


For actively participating in the course you will receive an automatic certificate which includes your username, the course name as well as the completed lessons. We want to point out that this certificate merely confirms that the user answered at least 75% of the self-assessment questions correctly.


This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Sie können in Betracht ziehen diesen Kurs bei Organisationen wie dem Verband der Diätologen oder Logopäden einzureichen.

Bitte folgen Sie den Anweisungen des jeweiligen Verbandes. Zumeist benötigen Sie das Zertifikat, das Sie durch diesen Kurs erhalten. Danach können Sie es einreichen und prüfen lassen, ob Sie damit Weiterbildungspunkte erhalten. Entschieden wird von den Einrichtungen von Fall zu Fall.

Course Instructor

Dr. Sandra Schüssler, Wolfgang Staubmann BSc MSc, Manuela Hatz MEd, Eva Resinger BA Bsc , Mag. Dr. Brigitte Pleyer, Dr. Verena Tatzer, Ulrike Selzer-Haslauer, Helga Fabianits, Prof. Sandra Holasek



This course was created as a joint project of four universities in order to be able to look at the topic of dementia and nutrition from multiple sides. Theoretical and practical parts of various disciplines from nursing, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietetics and nutritional geragogy were developed for this purpose.

This goal was achieved through intensive cooperation between teams from these disciplines at the universities MedUni Graz, FH Wiener Neustadt, FH JOANNEUM and PH Steiermark. Each individual team contributed to the success and quality to the highest degree. This made a unique course possible that can be used across the borders of federal states.

This course was created by

  • Sen. Scient. Dr. Sandra Schüssler from MedUni Graz (Technology and Health Topics, Nursing Science) in collaboration with Natalie Sofia Horn, MA (Room466 by WKO Steiermark) and Dr. DI Lucas Paletta with team (Joanneum Research Digital) and with the kind support of Dr. Maurice Chales de Beaulieu, M.A. (Managing Director MiiCare GmbH) and Univ. Regina Roller Wirnsberger and team (University Clinic for Internal Medicine) through concept feedback. 
  • Wolfgang Staubmann BSc MSc, Manuela Hatz MEd, Eva Resinger BA BSc from FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences (Dietetics and Nutrition and Logopedics)
  • Dr. Verena Tatzer, Ulrike Selzer-Haslauer, Helga Fabianits of FH Wiener Neustadt university of applied sciences (Ergotherapy)
  • Mag. Brigitte Pleyer of PH Steiermark university of teacher education (nutritional geragogy)
  • Prof. Sandra Holasek, Mag. Lisa Maurer, DI (FH) Eva Ulbrich of Sterz (organisation and technology)

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Medical University of Graz

Sen. Scient. Sandra Schüssler is a nursing scientist, senior scientist and head of the TechCare Lab research group at the Medical University of Graz. The TechCare Lab aims to co-develop, further develop and test (new) technologies (e.g. social robots, virtual reality) for the healthcare sector in multidisciplinary collaboration. A special, but not sole focus of the research group is on the target group of persons with cognitive impairments, such as dementia and their care problems (e.g. malnutrition).  

Researchers Homepage 

PH Styria

Mag.a Brigitte Pleyer works at the Institute for Secondary Vocational Education in the Nutrition Department of the University of Teacher Education Styria in Graz ( as a lecturer and nutrition scientist. She completed her teacher training and doctorate at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Vienna. Afterwards, she worked for many years in nutrition prevention and co-authored the reference book "Nutrition in old age" with Alexandra Raidl. As of the academic year 2019/2020, she established "Nutritional Geragogy" for the nutrition subject area of the secondary vocational education teacher training programme at the University of Teacher Education. Her focus in research and teaching is the subject-didactic implementation of nutritional science content also on nutritional-geragogical topics. Since 22.02.2022, an iMooX course on the topic of "Eating pleasure in old age - nutritional geragogy supported" is freely available:

FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences

Wolfgang Staubmann, BSc MSc works as a dietician & lecturer (FH) at the Institute of Dietetics and Nutrition at FH JOANNEUM. and his research focuses on the following areas: Working on ways to promote enjoyment and provide adequate nutritional care for older people with altered sensory perceptions such as taste and smell; working on issues of healthy ageing in the context of nutrition, integrated into the Health Perception Lab research laboratory. He completed his training as a dietician in 2012 and has been working at FH JOANNEUM since 2013. In addition to freelance consulting work, he completed the Master of Science in Health and Nutrition at University College Dublin in 2016. He teaches in various master's and continuing education courses in Styria. As part of his research activities, he worked on projects such as SCOBES-AR, FABELHAFT , DAMIA - Der alte Mensch is(s)t anders , Genussbroschüre Ernährung im Alter and others.

Manuela Hatz, MEd is a dietician and lecturer (FH) at the Institute of Dietetics and Nutrition at FH JOANNEUM with a focus on nutrition counselling & communication, healthy ageing, didactic concepts, new media & media work in the field of teaching and research. After training as a dietician in 1998, she worked in various professional fields, including the neurological rehabilitation sector and the development of obesity therapy concepts. In addition, she completed her Master's degree in health education in 2015 and has since been teaching at other universities/training institutions, such as the PH Steiermark, in addition to FH JOANNEUM. In addition, she has been working as a freelancer for many years, providing clients with individual nutritional therapies. As part of her work in the EUTIP and FABELHAFT projects, among others, she has dealt intensively with aspects of Healthy Ageing.

Eva Maria Resinger, BA BSc is a speech therapist, linguist & university lecturer (FH) at the Institute of Logopedics at FH JOANNEUM. Her teaching and research activities focus on neurology and geriatrics. Here she deals specifically with the topics of neurologically caused swallowing, speech and language disorders as well as linguistics. Eva Resinger completed her linguistics studies at Karl Franzens University in Graz in 2011 and her speech therapy studies at FH JOANNEUM in Graz in 2014. From 2014 to 2017 she worked as a tutor and research assistant, and since 2017 as a lecturer at the Institute of Speech Therapy. In the context of her research activities, she worked on projects such as  SCOBES-AR, FABELHAFT as well as several speech therapy-specific projects. She also works as a speech therapist in an inpatient setting on an acute neurology ward and a geriatric ward.

Romana Eichelsberger, BSc MEd is a qualified health and nursing care worker and nursing educator/lecturer (FH) with teaching and research focuses on geriatrics and simulation-based teaching at the Institute of Health Care and Nursing at FH JOANNEUM.  She was able to deepen her practical professional expertise through several years of professional work at the Albert Schweitzer Klinik (GGZ) in the areas of long-term care, acute geriatrics/remobilisation and the Apallic Care Unit. She studied health and nursing science at the Medical University of Graz and health education at the University of Applied Sciences Carinthia. Furthermore, as a Practitioner in Medical Simulation, she deepened her knowledge in simulation-based teaching in health care and nursing and was significantly involved in the development of the study programme and the simulation centre. She is currently responsible in the study programme organisation as study year coordinator for the 2nd study year.  She is the chairperson of the Federal Working Group for Nursing Education and is involved in this area as well as in networking between theory and practice.

This is FH JOANNEUM | Imagevideo - YouTube 

FH Wiener Neustadt University of Applied sciences phil. Verena C. Tatzer, MSc is an occupational therapist and research associate at the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. Verena Tatzer completed her basic training in Baden in 2003. She gained practical experience in psychiatry and geriatrics in Vienna and completed the joint programme, the "European Master in Occupational Therapy" at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, in Denmark, at the Hogeschool of Amsterdam and the University of Brighton in 2008. In 2017 she completed her doctorate in palliative care and organisational ethics at the University of Klagenfurt. Activity and participation of people with cognitive impairment/dementia are the focus of her research. Other focal points in research and teaching are geriatrics and gerontology, occupational therapy basics and occupational science as well as narrative and participatory research methods. She is a member of the board of the Austrian Society for Geriatrics and Gerontology and heads the section "Clinical Gerontology". She is currently leading the project "A Library for All - the Dementia-Friendly Library Wiener Neustadt" (

The MOOC was developed in cooperation with Helga Fabianits and Ulrike Selzer-Haslauer, who both teach together with Verena Tatzer in the elective subject "Occupational therapy with people with dementia and their relatives". 

Helga Fabianits has been working as an occupational therapist in the geriatric field in various settings since 1988. At the end of the 1990s, she increasingly specialised in occupational therapy work with people with dementia and worked, among other things, for 10 years on a focal ward for people with dementia. In 2012, she joined forces with two committed colleagues to form the "Ergoteam Demenz" - a joint practice for therapy and education. She is active as a freelance lecturer and repeatedly works as an expert in various projects, for example in 2020 with "Living well with dementia in the community" As an external lecturer, she teaches at the FH Wr. Neustadt and the FH Campus Wien in the occupational therapy degree programme. On the topic of eating and dementia, she wrote an article with Edeltraud Cortolezis and Ulrike Selzer-Haslauer in the professional journal Praxis Ergotherapie., 

Ulrike Selzer-Haslauer has been an occupational therapist since 1984. The main focus of occupational therapy is to maintain the greatest possible independence and autonomy, the retention of valued activities and social participation. She has many years of experience in the field of geriatrics in different settings - both employed and freelance. Since 2001, her focus and expertise has been in the field of dementia. She has been active for over 10 years as a lecturer at various training institutions, author of professional articles, active participant in a wide variety of projects and workshop leader in the field of "occupational therapy and dealing with people with dementia". Since 2012, she has been part of the Ergoteam Dementia group practice in Vienna, with a focus on occupational therapy and education for people with dementia and their caregivers.  

Additional training/education/experience: 

  • Occupational therapy in palliative care
  • Basal stimulation
  • Biography work
  • Courses in validation
  • Dementia balance model - multiplier (
  • Dementia training and participation in working groups, congresses and action days, dementia-friendly communities/districts
  • Teaching activities with various educational institutions
  • Years of personal experience as a relative of a family member with dementia

 "You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life." (Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement)


Natalie Sofia Horn, MA is a project manager and social scientist at Room466. She researches and works in the fields of talent management and digital learning, among others. Room466 is a newly founded R&D department of the Styrian Chamber of Commerce, which, through the implementation of national and international projects, aims to help shape the Styrian economy for the future and to support both employers and employees in their development. These projects deal with future-relevant topics such as sustainability & green economy, talent management as well as digital education and new forms of learning.




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