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Powerful Tools for Caregivers program set for the Cape

By Staff | Mar 28, 2011

A free six-week educational program, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, will be offered in Cape Coral beginning in April to provide family caregivers with the tools to help them take care of themselves.
Danielle Musteffe, CARE program coordinator, said Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a national program that was brought to Lee County on Feb. 23 after trainers were certified to teach the program through Legacy Caregiver Services. The program currently has a few staff members and up to 10 volunteers from the community to assist with the program.
The program was started by Legacy Caregiver Services, a non-profit health organization out of Portland, Oregon. Powerful Tools for Caregivers was developed over three years and has been offered for 10 years by more than 1,400 trained class leaders in 30 states. The program has had the ability to reach more than 60,000 care givers since it began.
Musteffe said the classes are being held once a week, with each class building upon the last one.
“Our goal is to empower caregivers,” she said. “The classes are designed to reduce feelings of powerlessness by giving caregivers tools that work. We can’t take away their problems, but the classes can help them to manage problems better and to seek and find solutions.”
Classes will be held from 1-4 p.m. every Monday from April 11 through May 16 at Juniper Village, 4920 Viceroy Court in Cape Coral.
The six classes will address a different topic each week, including taking care of you; identifying and reducing personal stress; communicating feelings, needs and concerns; communicating in challenging situations; learning from our emotions; and mastering caregiving decisions.
Musteffe said a caregiver can expect to learn various tools during the six-week program. Those tools include self-care techniques; effective stress management strategies; relaxation activities; how to better communicate personal feelings, needs and concerns more effectively and assertively; constructive ways to deal with difficult feelings — especially anger, guilt and depression; how to access community resources; and decision-making skills and how to deal with changes.
Since the program is funded through a grant, a donation of $25 is suggested to offset the cost of “The Caregiver Helpbook,” which is provided to everyone who attends the classes.
“The classes are free because we are funded through a grant,” Musteffe said. “We don’t turn anyone away.”
She said that the book contains all of the material that is discussed throughout the six weeks.
“It is a good resource for them to have,” Musteffe said.
Musteffe said since there is a 15-person limit for the class, several ongoing series will be held throughout the year in Lee, Charlotte, Glades and DeSoto counties.
To register for the class call (239) 343-2751.
The program is currently in its third week for caregivers in North Fort Myers and Fort Myers with full classes.