THE ORIGIN OF THE SCHMIEDING PROGRAM
The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program was developed in Northwest Arkansas out of one family’s need for qualified home caregivers. After struggling to care for his ailing brother, Lawrence H. Schmieding recognized the need for a formal training program specifically designed to prepare individuals to care for older adults in the home. In 1998, a generous donation from the Schmieding Foundation to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences funded construction of a Center on Aging in Northwest Arkansas.
Since its inception in 1999, the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education’s Caregiver Training Program has prepared hundreds of individuals (both paid and family) to care for older adults in the home. The program has earned a reputation for producing quality home caregivers and has received official endorsement from Dr. Robert Butler, father of geriatric medicine. Distinguished visitors to the center include: William Thomas, MD, Marie Bernard, MD, Marion Somers, Govenor Mike Beebe, Monica White, Naomi Feil, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD., FAAN to name a few.
In 2007 members of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation visited the Schmieding Center in Northwest Arkansas and realized the potential impact the program could have if it were available throughout the state.
The existing infrastructure of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Arkansas Aging Initiative program and its eight strategically located Centers on Aging provided the perfect framework to support the replication project.
In 2008, The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation generously provided over $3 million in funding to replicate the Schmieding program throughout Arkansas. A formal analysis was conducted by the leadership committee for the grant and the communities of Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, and West Memphis were selected.