Many people don’t plan to take on the role of caregiver to a loved one. The responsibilities of providing medical assistance and everyday social care are not part of their reality — until they are. Research shows that family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling conditions are themselves at risk. Emotional, mental, and physical health problems arise from complex caregiving situations and the strains of caring for frail or disabled relatives.
Pierce County’s Aging and Disability Resources is offering “Powerful Tools for Caregivers”, a free six-week educational series designed to provide unpaid caregivers the tools to take care of themselves while caring for others. Participants will receive a copy of “The Caregiver Handbook,’ developed specifically for the class.
“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” consist of six sessions held Thursday afternoons from March 15 to April 19 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Pierce County Sound View Building, 3602 Pacific Ave., Suite 200, in Tacoma. Participants are asked to commit to attend all six sessions.
Topics addressed include:
- Taking care of yourself
- Identifying and reducing personal stress
- Communicating feelings, needs, and concerns
- Communication in challenging situations
- Learning from our emotions,
- Mastering caregiving decisions
“Many of us help older, sick or disabled family member and friends every day,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County’s Aging & Disability Resources manager. “We know we are helping, but we don't think of ourselves as caregivers. We are glad to do this and feel rewarded by it, but if the demands are heavy, over time we can also become exhausted and stressed. Powerful Tools provides guidance and training to help caregivers with their number one task – self-care.”
“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is a free series. Space is limited and advance reservations are required by calling 253-798-4423. For more information about the classes call 253-798-4600.
Bob Riler, Pierce County Human Services/Aging & Disability Resources