UAMS gets $7.9 million for program to help elderly | Arkansas Blog

UAMS gets $7.9 million for program to help elderly

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UAMS announces a $7.9 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to expand training of people who help elderly continue to live in their own homes.

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NEWS RELEASE

The Arkansas Aging Initiative in the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received $7.9 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to provide new opportunities for the elderly to stay in their homes.

The grant will allow the expansion of the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program to four more Arkansas cities — Fort Smith, Little Rock, Hot Springs and El Dorado. The program, developed at the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale, already is in Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Texarkana and West Memphis thanks to a 2009 Reynolds Foundation grant.

The program offers educational opportunities for those who want to care for older adults preferring to stay in their own homes. There are four levels of certification for people wishing to make a career out of home caregiving (paid caregivers) and two workshops for those who want to provide care to their family members or significant others.

“We at UAMS are excited to be part of a program that is so important to Arkansas,” said Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging and chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine. “Elder care touches everyone, and it will become more critical as our baby boomers grow older and as an increasing number of aging adults opt for living at home rather than a long-term care facility.”

The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program was inspired by Lawrence H. Schmieding, who had struggled to find competent, compassionate home care for a brother with dementia. In 1998, the Schmieding Foundation donated $15 million to UAMS to establish and construct the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale. Working in partnership with the Arkansas Aging Initiative, a program of the Reynolds Institute on Aging, the center developed a unique, high-quality caregiver training program specifically for older adults living in their homes.

The Schmieding training method has garnered visits to Springdale from representatives of the International Longevity Center and prominent leaders in the fields of aging. The program’s expansion is being built on a solid foundation established by the Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Arkansas Aging Initiative.

“With the Arkansas Aging Initiative providing unparalleled access to rural older adults, we now have the infrastructure to help ensure a successful expansion of the Schmieding program,” said Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., associate director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging and director of the Arkansas Aging Initiative, which oversees eight Centers on Aging across Arkansas.

“Given the growing caregiving needs of our older adult population, this is an opportune time to replicate a proven caregiving educational program to help address these needs,” said UAMS’ Robin E. McAtee, Ph.D., R.N., the principal investigator for the Reynolds grant.

“Our goal in funding this program is to create a model program that will help promote independence in our aging population by training caregivers that can come into the home and delay the need for more expensive institutional care,” said Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith.

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