SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Powerful Tools for Caregivers

Maureen Wendt

Millions of Americans are providing care and support for a parent, spouse, friend or neighbor who needs help because of a limitation in their physical, mental or cognitive functioning. Not enough attention is given to family caregivers who provide 85% of all care to the frail and disabled.

At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are family caregivers of someone who has a significant impairment. Are you one of them?

The circumstances of individual caregivers are extremely varied. They may live nearby or far away from their loved one. They may provide care occasionally, daily or for a long duration. They may help with household tasks or self-care activities, or they may provide care for complex medical conditions. Or, they may be responsible for all of these activities. The impact of caregiving on families cannot be ignored. Current research is finding that taking care of tired caregivers could be as important as providing care for their loved ones.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a workshop for caregivers to provide them with strategies to better handle the unique caregiver challenges.

Caregivers often completely change their lifestyle to take care of those they love. It is well known that caring for a family member with a chronic illness such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke or other diseases is stressful and can take an enormous physical and emotional toll on caregivers.

Are you feeling stretched caring for a loved one? Over a six-week period you can take part in a training program designed with you, the caregiver in mind. Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an educational series designed to provide you with the tools you need to take care of yourself. You will learn to:

— Improve self-confidence as a caregiver.

— Better communicate.

— Reduce stress.

— Increase your ability to make tough decisions.

— Locate helpful resources.

— Balance your life.

The classes will be offered from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays beginning April 7th and continuing through May 19th (there's no class on May 5th), at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. Experienced class leaders will conduct each session. Interactive lessons, discussions and brainstorming will help you take the "tools" you choose and put them into action for your life.

Participants will receive a copy of The Caregiver Help book. Advance registration is required. Contact Angie Crawshaw at 716-433-1886, extension 111, or for more information and to register.

All COVID-19 protocols will be in place and participants will be required to wear a mask at all times.

Maureen A. Wendt is president and CEO of The Dale Association, a non-profit organization that provides senior, mental health, in-home care, caregiver support services and enrichment activities for adults.

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