Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Tue, 17 May 2016 18:45:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Free Family Caregiver Workshops for Arkansans Tue, 17 May 2016 16:33:10 +0000

There is still time to register to attend one of our free Schmieding Family Caregiver Workshops coming up in Pine Bluff, Texarkana and Jonesboro.  This workshop provides an overview of information on dementia and caregiving for anyone helping to provide unpaid care for an older adult with dementia at home.  Time is alloted for lecture, hands-on demonstrations, and individual questions.

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May 24 – Texarkana

May 26 – Pine Bluff, AR

June 28 – Jonesboro, AR


Chance encounter sparks career path through UAMS Schmieding program – Kalli’s story Thu, 12 May 2016 15:16:09 +0000

Kalli began her experience with the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program – Little Rock quite by chance. She had just moved to Arkansas and secured a job as a checker at the local grocery store. One day a shopper noticed that she was not having a good day and after a short conversation, the shopper invited Kalli to her church. This intuitive shopper eventually became a friend, confidant, and mentor with whom Kalli shared her dream of obtaining her CNA license and going to nursing school.

Touched by Kalli’s dream, the mentor searched the internet, found our program, and scheduled a time for Kalli to visit with our administrative coordinator. Kalli decided to attend our program, but she could not cover the full cost of the tuition. Once again, her mentor helped by covering a portion of the tuition so that Kalli could begin the first of three CNA preparatory classes! After completing the entire 116 hour program, Kalli attempted to return her mentor’s initial investment; the mentor simply responded that her family considered it an investment into her future and it was their gift to her.

When asked about her experience with the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program – Little Rock, Kalli says, “I was in high school when I first took a certified nursing assistant class as an elective. I had always wanted to become a nurse and help others, but the other students didn’t take it seriously; the other students made the class unpleasant. This was not my experience with your program. During the clinical experience, it was great that we were not to be assigned to work with the aides at the facility; it was nice to be able to do our care as we had learned it in school. Also, we were taught to be good caregivers no matter where we decided to work [nursing home or home care].”

“Before this program, I just wanted to get a job. After this program, I realized that I really wanted to take care of people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or a dementia and do it the right way. My experience with this program reinforced my desire to provide great care and served to increase my desire to continue with my dream of becoming a registered nurse.”

Kalli is currently working with clients who have dementia. She states that she is using the information that she gained from the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia class and sharing it with primary caregivers. She recalls the following: During an interview, a daughter shared that her dad had a meltdown at church. Kalli responded, “It could have been a response to an environmental trigger like a crowd or noise.” The interviewer was impressed and wanted to know more about the school where she received her training.

Kalli’s interesting path to our program has resulted in a new paraprofessional career for Kalli and a drive to provide patient, skillful, and knowledgeable care for our vulnerable and courageous seniors who have dementia.

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The Last Things a Caregiver Needs to Hear – and the First Fri, 18 Mar 2016 18:12:36 +0000

Have you ever said the wrong thing? Of course you have. You’re human. And when it comes to speaking to caregivers, conversations can be especially fraught.

Statistics Canada tells us more than eight million Canadians provide care to a chronically ill or disabled loved one. That’s a lot of people that are going through caregiving journeys, and if you are not one of them, you may find yourself putting your foot in your mouth unknowingly.

…read the full story at  The Globe and Mail

UAMS/Schmieding Working to Promote Respite Statewide Fri, 19 Feb 2016 19:09:54 +0000

Beginning this April, Arkansas residents will have an opportunity to participate in free Respite training around the state.  The programs, funded by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, are being offered by the UAMS Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Staff for the purpose of building a statewide cadre of volunteer respite providers.

For those who are not familiar with Respite, it can be described quite simply as the act of providing a break from caregiving so the caregiver/family member can have time do something fun, necessary, or otherwise impossible due to the responsibilities of caregiving.

Respite care is among the most critically necessary and beneficial family support services and 64% of Arkansas Caregivers say they need it!  Unfortunately, right now only about 10% of these caregivers actually receive it.  There are many barriers to getting respite, one of them being the lack of people willing to volunteer as respite providers.  This is where the UAMS/Schmieding Program staff hopes to make a difference.

Throughout the next two years staff from the UAMS/Schmieding Home Caregiver Training program will organize respite training classes at eight different locations throughout Arkansas.  Working with church groups, civic organizations and anyone else willing to partner or help get the word out.

Family caregivers provide over $450 billion dollars’ worth of care every year saving thousands in Medicaid dollars which would otherwise be needed to pay for institutional care.  Isn’t it time we help support them?

If you have extra time, are a student needing volunteer hours or maybe you would like to start a respite program with your church, we encourage you to attend one of these trainings.  You will find an entire community of people who are involved in helping others.  Providing respite in your community can be done one day a week, or one weekend a year or whatever suites your personal goal of giving.  Volunteer respite providers experience the joy of helping others, make new friends and learn caregiving skills which can come in handy when caregiving for family members.

Dates and locations and registration information for Respite training are available on the Choices in Living Website or interested parties can call the AR Choices in Living Center at 1-(866)-801-3435.

Insight Into Caregiving Thu, 18 Feb 2016 17:58:18 +0000

Review of a JAMA study by Sherry White, MNSC, RN-BC

New research published in February, 2016 JAMA provides insight on family members and other unpaid caregivers who assist older adults.

The aim of the research conducted by Wolff and his team was to examine “how caregivers’ involvement in older adults’ healthcare activities related to caregiving responsibilities, supportive services use, and caregiving-related effects”.  Researchers looked at information provided by 1,739 family and Unpaid caregivers and found that “family caregivers providing substantial assistance with health care experience significant emotional difficulty and role-related effects, yet only one-quarter use supportive services” Wolff (2016). JAMA Intern Med. DOI: 10.100/jamainternmed.2015.7664.

More troubling was that the “caregivers providing substantial help with health care activities were more than 5 times as likely to experience participation restrictions in valued activities and more than 3 times as likely to experience work productivity loss” Wolff (2016).

Experts agree that the contributions of family members and unpaid caregivers often go under recognized by both healthcare agencies and employers alike.  The strains and impacts to family members providing care for older adults is also expected to increase as the baby boomers age and more family members take on caregiving tasks.

The act of caregiving is often thought of in the kindest, mildest terms such as “helping with care” or “looking after” a loved one but the realities are pretty contrast.  Family caregiving and the tasks related to it are often difficult and complex, and go far beyond “helping” with medications to monitoring complex health conditions and providing hands on physical skills such as lifting, bathing and feeding.

To anyone who hasn’t experienced it, the realities of balancing work and caregiving responsibilities are often overwhelming and leave little time for rest and relaxation.  The mental strain of trying to focus on work deadlines knowing that someone is waiting or depending on you at home can too be exhausting even over a short period of time.

Research such as Wolff’s can be used to help support positive changes in healthcare policies that allow for greater support of family caregivers.   Keeping families together and in the home is far less expensive than institutional care and the cost of a test such as a MRI or PET scan could go a long way to paying for in-home support.  Community leaders should plan now for what soon is to become a huge socioeconomic stressor of a growing elderly population.

Programs such as caregiver training workshops, support groups, respite and adult day care can greatly help family members and are relatively inexpensive if operated in partnership with local community organizations.   Healthcare systems need to take a leadership role and reach out to academia, employer assistance programs and other local stakeholders such as faith based organizations and local non-profits such as the United Way to help support continuation or establishment of these programs and assist with fund raising efforts.

Sherry White is a registered nurse and Project Director for the UAMS, Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program.  The program is operated by the Arkansas Aging Initiative at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and supported by a grant by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.  For more information on caregiver training in Arkansas go to or email

Caregiving 2016: What more can be done? Tue, 12 Jan 2016 17:23:03 +0000

“More needs to be done” was one of the many suggestions contained in the final report from the Whitehouse Conference on Aging regarding the topic of the Direct Care Workforce.   So, for this our first “official post” of the new year I am asking you, our followers, to think about what more you might do to be certain that every older adult who needs one, has access to a well-trained home caregiver.

Speaking up about caregiving and sharing information and opinions about caregiving responsibilities is something we can all do and may be the spark that starts the conversation in your community.

If you are a family member and plan on helping to care for a family member, make time to talk to your loved one about what they want and how they wish to be cared for and plan in advance by taking a caregiving course to learn what services and supports are available in your community.  Taking a course can be extremely helpful and help decrease the stress of caregiving.

If you are currently caring for an older adult, realize you are not alone and what you know may help others.  Share what you know with people in your work, church or neighborhood.  What works for you, what you would do differently, and talk to legislators about what you think can be done to improve local supports.

If you’re an employer, survey employees (anonymous) to find out how and if caring for an older adult is in their near future.  If you have many employees think about how their caregiving responsibilities will impact their work and quality of life.  The facts are that 7 in 10 caregivers interviewed are currently working caregivers.  These individuals likely won’t be able to afford to quit work to care for their parents or they simply don’t want to and likely neither do you.  Is there a way to support them by including elder care options in benefit packages?  Does your community have an adult day care, classes or assisted living options?  Maybe it is time to invite someone in to talk to your employees about local supports.

If you work for the government and oversee programs can more be done to support access to part time caregivers, provide respite care, assistance with meals, bathing or activities as opposed to paying for nursing home care?  What technology can be used to help people safely stay in their homes, support medication compliance and prevent readmissions and complications?   Can we fund scholarships and/or create tuition benefits for people willing to work as paid caregivers in return for reduced tuition for nursing or other healthcare education.  What about the creation of a home caregiver network/or coalition for families?

If you’re an educator, think about how eldercare impacts your students.  Many grandparents are cared for and live with their grandchildren.  Is there a need for special supports for these students to help them stay in school.  Can caregiving topics such as hand washing, peri-care and body mechanics be included in health classes?

Maybe you’re a nurse or social worker in your community.  Is there more you can do to educate family caregivers about resources in your community?  Maybe your hospital or community should offer training for family members or home care workers. Current shortages of paid caregivers will only get worse, is there something we can do to share this workforce across settings in communities? What more can we do to help retain these workers, insurance, benefits?

If you have ties to a community board, participate on a community foundation or maybe you’re a private donor, make this year the year you focus on elder caregiving.  Support is and will continue to be needed to pay for the education of this workforce since these students generally don’t qualify for federal student aid.

The impact of caring for the baby boomers will soon be upon us.  We will need a large number of people willing and capable of helping care for those who wish to remain in their homes.  Make this year the year you consider what can be done, what needs to be done and then make a commitment to take action in your community to support solutions.  For more information about caregiver classes go to our website or register for class at

Caregiving Enriches Caregiver, Leads to Rewarding Career Tue, 17 Nov 2015 15:47:54 +0000

Long lives can radiate wisdom and even joy. Home caregiver Sue Carter, of Elkins, knows an invisible benefit of her chosen occupation is being able to bask in that radiant warmth.

Sue has been caring for and learning from older adults for more than 15 years. In the 1990s, at the urging of a friend, she became employed as a home caregiver. She cooked, she changed sheets and did the everyday things older and disabled people no longer could do for themselves. No formal training was available at that time, but Sue was able to learn some life lessons in the course of caring for others.

Daughter See Aging Through Mother’s Eyes Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:59:35 +0000

When Denise Henderson contacted the UAMS Schmieding Caregiver Program, she was searching for help in knowing the best way to care for her mother, who had trouble seeing and breathing.

Henderson’s mother, who lived in Hot Springs, had glaucoma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a disease in which a person’s internal airflow is restricted.

Daughter Finds Help as Caregiver for Aging Parents Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:57:57 +0000

Cora Lee and Arthur “Ott” Ray had been partners in life for many years as they raised their children in Hot Springs.

So when Cora Lee — long after the children had grown up and moved away — was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Ott took that partnership another step as he helped his wife navigate through memory loss and the mental confusion caused by the disease.

And when Ott began losing his vision due to macular degeneration, it was Cora Lee who served as his eyes, helping him navigate through the physical world.

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month Tue, 03 Nov 2015 14:46:28 +0000

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month and a time for us to recognize those who selfishly provide care for one or more family members.  Family Caregivers are not paid for what they do and more often than not, it is their efforts that helps prevent someone from having to go into a nursing home.  National statistics show that the majority of family caregivers are women, mothers and full time employees.  In fact 7/10 family caregivers interviewed reported working full time.  

The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that Family Caregivers make up 29% of the U.S. adult population.  The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 43.5 million of adult family caregivers care for someone 50+ years of age and 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

During the month of November join us and say thanks to someone you know who is a family caregiver.  If you want to do something nice in recognition for what they do, offer to give them an afternoon or weekend off from caregiving.   

If you are a family caregiver in need of help or would like to know more the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program offers free workshops throughout the year in all parts of the state.  Below is a list of locations and dates during the months of November and December.     

  • Texarkana          November 2 & 3  Caring for the person with Dementia
  • Hot Springs        November 2      Caring for the person with Dementia
  • Jonesboro          November 3      ALS Information Session and Support group meeting 
  • Jonesboro          November 4 & 5 Caring for the person with Dementia
  • El Dorado          November 5      Caring for the person with Dementia
  • Fort Smith /Ozark           November 12    Basic Skills for the family caregiver
  • FS/Cedarville     November 17th Basic Skills for the family caregiver
  • FS/Morrilton     November 18    Basic Skills for the family caregiver
  • FS/Paris              November 24    Basic Skills for the family caregiver
  • Little Rock          December 3       Caring for the person with Dementia
  • Pine Bluff           Dec. 3 & 4          Caring for the person with Dementia

Phone numbers for each location are listed at 

Please call or email for additional information and to register.