The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will hold a free family caregiver workshop Thursday, March 30 for those who would like to learn about caring for an adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The workshop, which is open to the public, will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Garland County Library at 1427 Malvern Avenue in Hot Springs. For more information or to register, please call (501) 276-0945. Lunch will be provided.

The program is sponsored by UAMS’ Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative and AARP Arkansas. The collaborative is funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration grant of $2.4 million for a Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program.

Taught by Kathryn Packard, M.S. M.Ed., the workshop will present an overview of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and provide caregiving tips that maintain respect, dignity and quality of life for the person living with dementia. Information will also be presented on nutrition, behavior, communication techniques and activities.

About 452,000 family caregivers in Arkansas provide an estimated $4.7 billion in unpaid care each year, helping their loved ones with bathing and dressing, cooking meals, transportation, finances and complex medical tasks like wound care and injections.

AARP Arkansas State Director Herb Sanderson said support for family caregivers, including making available free training opportunities, represents a top priority for AARP, which has more than 310,000 members in Arkansas age 50 or older.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, serving a crucial role in helping older Arkansans and other loved ones remain in their own homes and communities,” Sanderson said. “Because of their tireless efforts, older parents, spouses, and other loved ones are able to live independently at home and in the community — where they want to be. It’s a labor of love, and often more than a fulltime job.”

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

The UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging serves the needs of an aging generation with the highest standards of research and care. It was established through a 1997 gift of $28.8 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and expanded through a 2009 foundation gift of $33.4 million. Within the institute is the Arkansas Aging Initiative (AAI), created from part of Arkansas’ share of the Master Tobacco Settlement to improve the health of older Arkansans through interdisciplinary clinical care and innovative education programs, and to influence state and national health policy. The AAI created seven Centers on Aging throughout the state to provide senior adults access to quality care within a 60-mile drive from their homes. These centers offer the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program so older adults might have more opportunities to remain at home.

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