Chances are that a majority of people will find themselves in some sort of caregiver role within their lifetime. Whether it is to a child with special needs, a spouse diagnosed with cancer, or an aging parent, the caregiver is a unique and critical ally in their loved ones' care. It is essential that healthcare professional training concentrate not only on the patient and their needs, but also the integration of the caregiver into their practice. Teaching students early about the importance of such integration ensures that this facet of care is no longer overlooked. Just as important, however, is providing the appropriate training, education, and support to caregivers themselves. Whether it is education on their loved one's disease, information about resources in their community, or helpful tips on self-care, it is vital that caregivers feel educated, empowered, and equipped for their role.
Below are educational opportunities and resources provided by various organizations interested in caregiving.
Training for Caregivers
- The Aging Institute of UPMC and Pitt provides education and training programs for caregivers that concentrate on learning skills to reduce stress, developing more effective communicate with family and healthcare providers, dealing with various emotions associated with caregiving, making difficult decisions, and problem solving. These programs are also great opportunities to meet other caregivers to exchange information and provide support.
- INSPIRE (Inspiring New Solutions and Providing Individualized Resources and Education) for Advanced Caregiving is a six-week program designed to help caregivers caring for an older adult in the home setting, including many issues surrounded dementia care. It is free of charge.
- Allegheny County's Area Agency on Aging offers several caregiver support programs (CSPs). Programs include Powerful Tools for Caregivers - a six-session, weekly, series focused on the needs of caregivers.
Training for professionals
- The Aging Institute of UPMC and Pitt has many educational programs and trainings for professionals workings in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, home health, etc. The goal is to increase awareness of age-related issues and needs, improve clinical skills of professionals, and address special issues concerning older adults such as sexuality and gender, long-term care directives, and dementia. The following are offered:
- Certificate Program in Gerontology for Nurse Aides and Nurses
- Critical Thinking Skills in Caring for Older Adults
- Geriatric Syndromes
- Ageless Wisdom
- Lost: When Wandering Turns Dangerous
- The “Me” in DeMEntia Care
- Certification Review Courses
- The National Institute on Aging (NIA) offers the Butler-Williams Scholars Program. The five day program offers experience and insights into the field of aging for junior faculty and researchers new to the field. It consists of lectures, seminars and small group discussions.
Training for students
- HPI, in collaboration with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging (AAA), is funding two graduate student research assistant positions at the AAA. Click on the links below to learn more!
- Research Assistant in the Curriculum Research and Development Center of AAA
- The Aging Institute of UPMC and Pitt provides training opportunities for students throughout their academic career including high school, college and graduate school.
- UPMC employees can apply for a scholarship from the Aging Institute for the University of Pittsburgh's graduate certificate program in gerontology.
- Health Careers Scholars Academy is a month long summer program for gifted high school students interested in future studies in medicine. Students can select concentration courses which allow a more in-depth look at particular topics including: global health, geriatric health, public health, and behavioral health.
- The University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) offers a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. Students can develop their own program related to their specific interests. Specializations include Law, Mental Health, Nursing, Occupational Therapy/Rehabilitation, Public Health, Social Work, Gerontology, and two multi-disciplinary tracks - General and Prevention & Healthy Aging. The program can be completed in as little as 9-months.