Every day in the United States, 40 million people help their parents, grandparents, relatives or neighbors with the daily activities of living, including dressing, bathing, cooking, shopping, and taking medication. Here in Washington, there are more than 800,000 citizens providing care to another adult.
Caregivers provide support by doing household chores, managing medications, offering important medical care, and so much more. Oftentimes, issues can arise from the strains of caring for frail or disabled relatives. Research shows that family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling conditions are at risk for developing emotional, mental, or physical health problems themselves. You care for them. Who cares for you?
Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources is offering “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” a free six-week series that provides unpaid family caregivers with the skills and confidence needed to better care for themselves while caring for others. Participants will receive a copy of “The Caregiver Helpbook,” and learn how to reduce stress, communicate effectively, and deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” will be offered Thursday afternoons from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The classes will run from July 12 – Aug. 16 in the Board Room at the Puyallup Library, located at 324 S. Meridian in Puyallup. 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 members and friends every day,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources manager. “We know we are helping, but we don't think of ourselves as caregivers. We are happy 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 and open to the public. We ask that participants commit to attend all six sessions. Space is limited and reservations are required. For more information and to reserve your spot in the program, call (253) 798-4600.
Bob Riler, Pierce County Human Services / Aging & Disability Resources