‘Powerful Tools for Caregivers’ series starts Sept. 3

Powerful Tools for Caregivers, an educational course designed for individuals caring for an aging loved one, is being offered by Greene County Extension beginning in early September. The program is open to the public.

Classes will be held Thursdays, Sept. 3 through Oct. 8, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Jefferson and is open to the public. Dinner will be provided during each session.

The six-week series offers caregivers strategies for reducing stress, improving self-confidence, better communicating feelings, balancing life, increasing ability to make tough decisions, and locating helpful resources. The program has been tested and evaluated through a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Organizers say it’s not restricted only to those who are currently in a caregiving role. “We’re encouraging people to also start looking at the next three to five years and think about if they’ll find themselves in more of a caregiving situation in the near future, even if they don’t consider themselves a caregiver today,” said Sue Richardson, families coordinator for Greene County Extension. “Whether you’re currently just helping a parent pay bills once a month or driving them to an occasional doctor appointment, think about how those responsibilities might start to increase in the future. Now is the time to learn these tools to prepare for a time when you might be a more dedicated caregiver for the aging loved one in your life.”

Total cost for the series is $30 per participant, which includes the six sessions, meals, and a 200-page workbook printed by Legacy Caregiver Services, which goes more in-depth on topics covered throughout the class. The registration fee is greatly reduced thanks to several local sponsors and supporters.

Scholarships to help with the cost are available through several local churches, as well as the Extension office. Contact them for more information. The fees charged will be used to offset direct expenses and to support the families and human sciences programming offered by Greene County Extension.

The course is led by two trained and experienced class leaders who will facilitate interactive lessons, discussions, and brainstorming sessions to help participants take the tools learned in the class and put them into action. Past Greene County participants in the program said it was a beneficial experience. “It was great to be in the same room with others who were going through similar situations,” said Pam Mentzer of Jefferson. “After the class, I’m less stressed and able to better talk with Dad to make important decisions about his care.”

A Churdan participant said she also found the course to be helpful. “Taking this class opened up rich conversations with my father about topics that are difficult to discuss,” said Joanna Hunter. “Powerful Tools for Caregivers is filled with helpful insights and effective strategies that can bring ease to our caregiving roles.”

Pre-registration is encouraged by Friday, Aug. 27, but late registrations will be accepted provided there is room in the class.

To find out more about Greene County Extension, including other families and human sciences programming, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/greene.


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