According to statistics, someone turning 65 today has a 70% chance of needing long-term care. While this may cause some people to dread over the potentially devastating costs of a care facility, it may be comforting to know that 75% of all long-term care is given at home by unpaid family caregivers.
Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources is offering “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” a free six-week series that provides unpaid family caregivers with skills and confidence. Participants receive a copy of “The Caregiver Helpbook,” and learn how to provide better care for themselves while caring for others.
“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” will be offered Friday afternoons from 2-3:30 p.m. Classes will run April 3 – May 8 at the Pierce County Soundview building, located at 3602 Pacific Ave. Suite 200, in Tacoma. 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
Caregivers do everything from buying groceries and running errands to managing medications and providing medical care. Family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling conditions are at risk themselves. Emotional, mental, and physical health problems may arise from complex caregiving situations, as well as the strains of caring for frail or disabled relatives. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for a caregiver to pass away before their care recipient.
“Caregiving is not something that family members train for,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “We are often thrust into that situation by circumstances out of our control. 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 – the dangerous downside of caregiving. ‘Powerful Tools’ provides guidance and training to help caregivers with their number one task, self-care.”
“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is a free educational series. Space is limited and participants must attend all six sessions. Advanced reservations must be made by calling 253-798-4423. For more information about the classes, contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600.
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Bob Riler, Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources