Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Students Experience Interactive Dementia Sensitivity Training

From left to right: Jessica Rydingsward, Assistant Professor in MCPHS’ School of Physical Therapy; Kaelen Dunican, Assistant Dean of Interprofessional Education & Professor of Pharmacy Practice at MCPHS; Paul Fuller, Community Relations Specialist for SLR; Emily Nardiello, Executive Director at Neville Place Assisted Living; and Cheryl Babin, Associate Director of Clinical Education and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at MCPHS.

WORCESTER, MA — On January 17th, 2023, more than 50 students from the pharmacy and physical therapy programs at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) in Worcester participated in an interactive Dementia Sensitivity Training, created and facilitated by Senior Living Residences (SLR), a Braintree-based assisted living management company. The training is a component of SLR’s Dementia Friendly Communities Initiative, which helped make Westfield, MA the first dementia friendly city on the East Coast. 

Emily Nardiello, Executive Director at Neville Place Assisted Living in Cambridge, and Paul Fuller, Community Relations Specialist at SLR, led the two-part workshop. Participants were given Understanding Dementia in the Real World, a presentation and discussion that reviews what dementia is and how to communicate best with those who have it, followed by The Dementia Experience, a hands-on, multi-modal learning program that uses sensory modifications to simulate certain physical and cognitive limitations and asks participants to perform activities that highlight the challenges of living alone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia-causing diseases. The Experience uniquely explains how isolation, nutrition, and medication error can lead to unnecessary complications while also providing a visceral experience of what it would be like to have dementia.

This is the third year that SLR has brought the workshop to students at MCPHS, many of whom may work with seniors and their families later on in their careers. SLR’s Public & Professional Education Programs are free and available to anyone who wants to better understand Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. For more information on these offerings, please contact Pamela Maloney at Learn more online at