The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences “Caregiving Around the Clock Award,” was presented to Shirley Winn of El Dorado by Lori DeWese, education coordinator for the South Arkansas Center on Aging during a “Caregiver Celebration” in El Dorado Thursday.
DeWese said the event, hosted by the South Arkansas Center on Aging, was “a special time to celebrate the selfless acts of love and support provided by caregivers. Almost 100 caregivers from El Dorado and surrounding areas were celebrated, pampered, educated and provided with various free health screens.
“A very special, deserving caregiver was recognized for receiving the UAMS Caregiving Around the Clock Award for her compassion, dedication and inspiration to all those that know her. Shirley Winn was joined by her son and daughter-in-law, Byron and Krisa Winn, at the celebration and award presentation.
Shirley Rhea (Hall) Winn has been married to (Thaddeus) Daniel Winn for 56 years. She is retired from Phillips Petroleum. Together she and her husband owned Winn’s Magnavox Home Entertainment Center (circa 1966 to 1980) and The Believer’s Book Nook (circa 1981 to 1995). After closing the bookstore, Daniel Winn had an early morning paper route with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and then became a realtor with Reed-Whatley Century 21 until 2010. Winn was also an alderman in the City of El Dorado during the mid-1970’s.
“She has been at her husband’s side every moment of every day since his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s in 2010.
Byron Winn, son, said, “There has never been a question of her commitment to love, honor, serve and cherish my Daddy – in sickness and in health…and until death do they part. With every beat of her heart she desires to love and serve him until the last beat of his own.”
“Mrs. Shirley Winn is a true example of a caregiver’s love, devotion and selflessness,” DeWese said.
In early August of this year, Shirley Winn had to go into the hospital for emergency treatment with Stage 5 renal disease. When that occurred, she contacted LifeTouch Hospice to admit her husband into their Hospice Respite program while she was convalescing in the Medical Center of South Arkansas.
At the same time, she contacted her other son, Scott, to come down and be with her for the immediate future and son Byron Winn and his family came home to El Dorado to be Daniel Winn’s caregiver in her absence for four to six weeks while she recuperated.
Byron and Krisa Winn homeschool their daughters, Grace and Karis (ages 9 and 6 respectively). Their home is in the most northern part of Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester. Relocating to El Dorado was not in the plans, but family is their priority, they said.
“Regardless of the care-giving situation, if another is someone’s constant caregiver, support and education are crucial. The South Arkansas Center on Aging Education Center, Alzheimer’s Support Group, along with a Thursday Women’s Bible Study and her church (First Assembly of God), have been places of surety, security and desperately needed hope for ‘Shirley Rhea’ (as she’s known to many of her friends). With all of her heart and soul she highly recommends that any and all caregivers seek out support and resources to assist in their journey,” DeWese said.
Shirley Winn tells those walking the daily caregiver path, “You just get through it and thank the Lord for another day.”
Manicure: Shirley Winn, left, receives a free manicure from a Professional Cosmetology Education Center student, during the South Arkansas Caregiver Celebration, ‘Caregivers are Heroes,’ Thursday at the El Dorado Conference Center.
Education and support programs have shown to have multiple benefits for caregivers. Providing enhanced caregiver support services, including education and counseling programs, have shown to assist the caregiver who is struggling to cope with behavioral symptoms that often accompany disease progression, DeWese explained.
The South Arkansas Center on Aging Education Center offers a variety of educational and support programs for caregivers. The Caregiver SUCCESS Program is available as one-one-one caregiver support/counseling, 24/7. For more information on how to be a part of the programs at South Arkansas Center on Aging Education Center, call 870-881-8969 or e-mail LKDeWese@UAMS.edu.
“This annual caregiver event would not be possible without the strong community support of local healthcare agencies and businesses,” DeWese said and thanked MCSA, Walgreens, Professional Cosmetology Education Center, Spa on Main, SAMA, Courtyard, Promed, South Arkansas Senior Health Clinic, Audibel, Kinslow Eye and Laser Center, El Dorado Connection, Walmart, Hudson Memorial Nursing Home, Quality Lube, Melvin’s Discount Pharmacy, fayrays, Especially for You, SilverOaks, Calhoun’s Medical Supply, First Financial Bank, Noalmark Broadcasting, Martha’s on the Square and GNC.
Many of the sponsors set up booths at the Caregiver Celebration at the El Dorado Conference Center Thursday to provide free medical screenings, manicures, makeovers and other pampering events for caregivers.