Spring 2022 Newsletter
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)
Thank you to all of our AGEC health professional friends and peers for continuing to support AGEC programs and activities. We started off this year with more depressing COVID-19 Omicron news and a huge uptick in positive cases. However, we marched on and now as spring is emerging, we are once again having face-to-face programs and attending in-person events. Hooray! Our community participants have been very excited about getting back together face-to-face for evidence-based programs and activities and attendance has been great. The social isolation over the past two years has certainly taken its toll, but we are doing what we can to limit or even reverse its effect.
Over the past 3 months we have worked diligently to maintain programming and activities and our outcomes are great. For the clinical activities in March, we were excited to partner with Opioid Prevention for Aging and Longevity (OPAL) and UAMS’s Academic Detailing program at the Psychiatric Research Institute to provide 2 hours of continuing education on Naloxone to AGEC’s clinical partners at ARcare in England, Augusta, Cabot West, Bald Knob, Wynne and Benton. OPAL is also securing Naloxone kits which will be distributed to these clinics when available.
We continued to also provide many programs virtually. Highlights included several events via Zoom such as: Eat Well Live Well at the Benton Senior Center; Mental Health, Food, & Exercise with partners AARP & AR-Connect; Internet Safety via Zoom in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System; Caregiver Resources with partner AARP; Kidney Health at the Bryant Senior Center; and Preventing Isolation in partnership with UCA students. The AGEC Age Wise podcast continues to be popular along with AGEC’s Facebook page where we now have over 2,400 followers. The program “Understanding Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease” was presented for 28 UCA Consumer Science students in February, and a video caregiver story entitled “Dealing with Hardships While Caring for Parents” was released online for National Caregivers Day on 2/18/22, with over 2,800 views.
Health Professional trainings have also been active with over 200 attendees this past quarter. Webinars included: Immunization 2022: Communication & Science Update (1/12/22); and The Importance of Hearing in Healthy Cognitive Aging (2/16/22). On 2/8/22, The Challenges and Opportunities: Working with Rural CBOs, was presented to a national audience during a GWEP-CC Peer Sharing Webinar, and the AGEC webinar for March was in partnership with OPAL with Kirk Lane, AR Drug Director, titled Arkansas Naloxone Project.
AGEC has also been excited to get back out in the community presenting evidence-based programs and activities face-to-face at local communities of faith and senior centers. Older adults are attending these programs and enjoying meeting again with their peers! We at the AGEC thank all of you for your loyalty and partnerships; we could not reach all the healthcare professionals, students, or older adults without all of you! Thank you!!!