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New Mexico State University

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Gerontology Specialist Will Teach About Caring for Loved Ones

SANTA FE - Vicki Schmall, a nationally renowned author and expert on caregiving for the elderly, will discuss making decisions for loved ones at a workshop April 6 in Santa Fe.



Vicki Schmall, nationally renowned author and expert on caregiving for the elderly, will discuss making decisions for loved ones at a workshop April 6 in Santa Fe. The workshop is co-sponsored by NMSU and the Children, Youth and Families' At Risk Program. (Courtesy photo by Vicki Schmall)

The Santa Fe office of New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service is organizing the event, paid for by the Children, Youth and Families' At Risk Program.

"Many people suddenly find themselves taking care of parents, siblings, uncles or aunts without any prior warning, and they're totally unprepared for it," said Imelda Garcia, Extension home economist. "Schmall will discuss the skills needed to take care of loved ones, such as creating a caregiving plan, knowing about medications and providers, and knowing about available community resources."

Schmall, president and gerontology training specialist of Aging Concerns in West Linn, Ore., is professor emeritus at Oregon State University, where she previously directed the gerontology program. She is co-author of The Caregiver Helpbook: Powerful Tools for Caregiving. All workshop participants will receive a copy of the book.

Schmall has developed training programs and educational materials on aging, including multimedia workshop packages focused on family caregiving decisions and communication, videos, manuals and educational games.

Schmall has conducted nearly 1,000 workshops for staff, families, older adults and professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Guam and Thailand.

At the workshop, Schmall will discuss the transition from home to long-term care and stress related to caregiving. She'll also talk about strengthening family communication, Garcia said.

"In northern New Mexico, families tend to be large, so there are often many siblings who can help with caregiving," Garcia said. "Schmall will discuss how to communicate effectively with other family members to share caregiving responsibilities."

To attend, participants must pay a $20 registration fee by April 1.

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Courtyard by Marriott, Loma and Sierra Rooms, 3347 Cerrillos Road.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, call Garcia at (505) 471-4711.