May 4, 2020

From The Director’s Desk

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By Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (DWR IOA)

Spring 2020

Is this a new AGEC era?

What a difference a few weeks make.  Last time I wrote this newsletter, we at the AGEC were preparing for a very busy end of winter and early spring with several exciting programs and activities scheduled!  We were all really looking forward to better weather and traveling the state to conduct programs and see our community-based and academic partners in action.  And now…. we are still very busy, but differently.

As most people, we have started working part-time at home and part-time on campus. We have also greatly changed the way we are delivering programs and activities.  We have had to spend time learning new systems and thinking about how to do things differently – while socially distancing ourselves!  Below are a few examples of how we are adapting and changing.

We are converting community programs into virtual forums:

  • Dementia Friendly Business – Converting in-person coaching to virtual/online program
  • Converted our popular community forum “Understanding Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease” to an online program via BlackBoard Collaborate
  • Converted Lunch & Learn series with Alzheimer’s’ AR and Community Based Organizations from in-person to online.
  • With our AR-IMPACT partner, we have completed four on-line programs: Alternative Pain Relief and Self-management amidst the Opioid Crisis; Tips for the Busy Clinician; Opioids and Falls; and Recognizing and Responding to Suffering
  • Transforming community programs (some educational and some exercise programs) to on-line versions while encouraging our older adults to participate online.  For example: Presenting Ageless Grace online (via Facebook) and to date, along with our partners in this venture we have had over 5000 hits!
  • Working with our clinical partner with QI activities via phone conferences

As we learn new ways of delivering our programs and grant activities, we want you to stay connected with us. If you have unique ideas about how to reach and connect with health professionals who specialized in geriatrics or the older adults themselves and/or their caregivers, or the general community, please share them with us!  We are all in this together and are striving to meet the needs of older Arkansans while improving their health and wellbeing!