When Lawrence Schmieding’s brother started showing signs of advanced aging, Mr. Schmieding promised his brother that he would find someone to take care of him at home, having no idea how hard it would be to keep that promise. Despite his substantial resources, Mr. Schmieding could not locate a caregiver with adequate skills to care for his brother in his home. Mr. Schmieding recognized there was a need for formal training specifically designed to prepare individuals to care for older adults in the home.
Mr. Schmieding’s personal experience and vision led to a generous gift from the Schmieding Foundation to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1998. The Foundation established a 20-year endowment to construct and operate the first Center on Aging in the state, i.e., the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education. Out of this endowment came the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training program to fulfill Mr. Schmieding’s quest to train caregivers to professionally provide one-on-one personalized assistance that helps older adults stay healthy, happy and safely at home. In Mr. Schmieding’s words, “Where there’s home there’s hope.”
As the first Center on Aging (COA) under the Arkansas Aging Initiative, the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education became an operational model for other COAs to replicate which focused on improving health outcomes of older Arkansans in our region through interdisciplinary clinical care and innovative education programs and to influence health policy at the state and national levels with emphasis on care of rural older adults.