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Registration continues for Powerful Tools for Caregivers program

By Staff | Oct 7, 2015

Time is running out for caregivers to sign up for a free series on improving quality of life.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a nationally recognized, evidence-based program designed to help family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a loved one at home, in a nursing facility or from long distance. The six-week series starts Oct. 15, with classes from 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays.

It will be held at the SHARE Club Computer Learning Center at the Cape Coral Hospital.

“The most important thing they take away from this is they’re not in it alone,” program coordinator Alexandra Henderson said. “There is help, you just have to reach out there for it, if you want it.”

As of Tuesday, there were still plenty of vacancies for those interested in registering.

“We’d like to have at least four people to hold the program,” she said. “But no more than 10.”

People can sign up up until the start of the series as long as there are still openings.

Funded by a grant from the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, as well as the Lee Memorial Health System and Lee Memorial Auxiliary, the classes are aimed at caregivers who are taking care of a loved one who has a disease, disorder, illness or injury. It is an ongoing series held throughout Lee County.

The program helps caregivers reduce stress, improve self confidence, communicate their feelings better, balance their lives, increase their ability to make tough decisions and locate helpful resources.

The following topics are covered over the six weeks:

n Taking Care of You

n Identifying and Reducing Personal Stress

n Communicating Feelings, Needs and Concerns

n Communicating in Challenging Situations

n Learning From Emotions

n Mastering Caregiving Decisions

Participants will receive “The Caregiver Handbook,” a book developed specifically for the program. A donation of $30 is suggested to help defray the book’s cost, but it is not required to attend the series.

“It’s more interactive than just going over the workbook,” Henderson said of the classes. “A lot of activity, and giving caregivers the opportunity to speak on their personal experiences.”

Participants develop an action plan during the program to use as a tool.

“It holds them accountable for making that time to take care of themselves,” she said. “You can’t care for a loved one unless you’re taking care of yourself – they walk away with self-care behaviors.”

According to Henderson, many family caregivers have difficulty accessing resources. They find that they do not know where to turn or where to reach out for help; the series answers those questions.

“There are a lot of resources out there to help and assist you along the way,” she said.

Caregivers can routinely neglect their own well-being and health.

“Many of them turn their own needs away to take care of a loved one,” Henderson said. “Not going to their own doctor’s appointments – not giving themselves enough time to exercise.”

They also may think that they need to do it all on their own.

“Many of them have a lot of guilt, anger, depression and anxiety,” she said.

The class discussions help bring these feelings to the surface, so they can be dealt with.

Two experienced program leaders conduct the series.

If needed, special discounts for companionship care in the home are available for participants during the weekly class times. For more information, visit: www.powerfultoolsforcaregivers.org.

To register for the upcoming series, contact Henderson at (239) 343-9224.

Cape Coral Hospital is at 636 Del Prado Blvd.