January Dates Set for ‘Caring for the Caregiver’ at UAMS

By David Robinson

The course programs will be held Thursdays, Jan. 14, 21 and 28 at the Reynolds Institute on Aging, Room G/180 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. The Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Arkansas chapter of the American Red Cross are sponsoring the series. The weekly program runs through Feb. 25.

Todd Yakoubian, a meteorologist at KATV Channel 7, will kick off the series with “Preparing for Dangerous Weather,” a presentation about protecting people during severe weather who are not able to walk.

Course directors are Jina “Bitsy” Lewallen, a licensed, clinical social worker and geriatrics instructor at UAMS, and Ignacio Cabrera of the Arkansas Red Cross.

The course will focus on six principles of care that are important when providing care for an older adult: safety, privacy, dignity, communication, independence and infection control.

Lewallen said knowing the basics of care is critical for those who care for an older spouse, parent or friend. Without some guidelines, caregivers can harm themselves or the patient when lifting or moving the individual. In addition, day-to-day physical and emotional strain may cause depression or anxiety.

“The first thing we advise caregivers to do is to take care of themselves,” Lewallen said. “If they are sick or injured, there is usually no one to replace them.”

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com.