The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program celebrates the formal opening of its site in El Dorado.
Larry Wright, M.D., director of the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education of Northwest Arkansas, speaks to the audience attending the opening.
Among those attending the El Dorado opening are, left: Brenda Gorz, El Dorado Schmieding program instructor; Bethany Cheatham, El Dorado Schmieding coordinator of home caregiver training and Angela Norman, D.P.N., education director of South Arkansas Center on Aging, Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., Robin McAtee, Ph.D., and Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D.
Oct. 8, 2013 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging today celebrated the opening of the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program in El Dorado, providing new opportunities for the elderly to stay in their homes as they age.
Developed at the UAMS Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale, the caregiver training program offers four levels of certification for paid caregivers and two workshops for those who provide care to their family members.
The El Dorado program is located at the UAMS South Arkansas Center on Aging at 106 W. Main St., Suite 310. The center contains a classroom and a learning laboratory that simulates a home environment. To learn more about the Schmieding program in El Dorado, visit www.arcaregiving.org or call (870) 639-1744.
A $3,015,565 grant in 2009 from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to the Arkansas Aging Initiative of UAMS enabled the initial replication of the Schmieding program. In 2010-11, sites were established in Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Texarkana and West Memphis.
In 2012 the Reynolds Foundation gave UAMS a phase II grant of $7.7 million to continue the initial programs and to add sites in Fort Smith, Little Rock, Hot Springs and El Dorado. The Fort Smith program opened in early 2013, the Little Rock program in April and the Hot Springs program in August. The El Dorado opening marks the conclusion of the phase II expansion.
Those attending today’s ribbon cutting and grand opening included Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Institute on Aging and chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine; Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., associate director of the Institute on Aging and director of the Arkansas Aging Initiative, which oversees nine Centers on Aging across Arkansas; Robin E. McAtee, Ph.D., R.N., the principal investigator for the Reynolds Foundation grant.
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 UAMS Institute on Aging, the center developed a unique, high-quality caregiver training program specifically for older adults living in their homes.
The expansion of the Schmieding program is occurring at a critical time for Arkansas, which ranks 10th nationally in the percentage of people older than 60.
“We are excited to be part of a program that is so important to Arkansas,” Wei said. “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.”
“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,” McAtee said.
The expansion of the Schmieding program is being built on a solid foundation established by the UAMS Institute on Aging and the Arkansas Aging Initiative, Beverly said.
“We now have the infrastructure to help ensure a successful expansion,” Beverly said. “The Arkansas Aging Initiative provides unparalleled access to rural older adults and local health care and community networks.”
UAMS officials also thanked area legislators for their support, including Sen. Bobby Pierce, Sen. Eddie Cheatham, Sen. Bruce Maloch, Rep. Matthew Shepard, Rep. John Baine, Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, Rep. David Fielding, Rep. Richard Womack, Rep. Lane Jean, Rep. Sheila Lampkin and Rep. Mark McElroy.
The UAMS Schmieding Center in Springdale has trained hundreds of home care workers and has been recognized outside of Arkansas. The Schmieding training method, which may be unique in the United States, has garnered visits to Springdale from representatives of the International Longevity Center and leaders in the fields of aging.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it was named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $245 million to improving the lives of elderly people throughout the United States.