The CT Chapter of NSCIA has become a key contact to disseminate the national Powerful Tools for Caregivers program in Connecticut. The outline below highlights information about the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program from their national website, powerfultoolsforcaregivers.org.
It is now well known that caregivers face multiple challenges. Research shows high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers, and increased vulnerability to health problems. Caregivers often report the feeling that they have no control over events. The sense of powerlessness can have a significant negative impact on caregivers? physical and emotional health. Lack of time for personal activities and a diminished social life are also frequently cited as problems faced by caregivers.
The Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) program is an educational resource that empowers caregivers to address these challenges more effectively.
One of the main goals of the program is to help caregivers to thrive as individuals. Since the program began in 1998, Powerful Tools for Caregivers has reached over 70,000 caregivers, and over 1,700 Class Leaders have been trained in 30 states.
The program is divided into six weekly classes, during which caregivers develop a wide range of self-care tools designed to help reduce personal stress; change negative self-talk; better communicate their needs to family members and healthcare/service providers; communicate more effectively in challenging situations; recognize the messages in their emotions, and cope with difficult emotions. This educational program also supports caregivers in making tough caregiving decisions such as nursing home placements, driving issues, or finances.
The class design emphasizes hands-on learning, experiential activities, peer support, and facilitated group discussion. Participating caregivers create independent
action plans and as part of the group, practice new techniques, try out communication strategies and learn practical tips. The benefits of stress management tools such as breathing for relaxation, listening to music, and seeking out humor are encouraged. Class participants receive a copy of The Caregiver Helpbook (2nd edition), a user-friendly workbook developed specifically for the course. This book is also an excellent stand-alone resource for those caregivers who may be unable to participate in a class.
A great deal of research, evaluation and revision has been done to ensure its continued value and success. A summary of course evaluations indicates a number of positive outcomes such as:
- Improved self-care behaviors;
- Reduced anger, guilt and depression;
- More self-confidence in coping with caregiving demands; and increased use of community services.
Caregivers from many different backgrounds have benefitted from the 6-week class, including caregivers from rural areas, ethnic minorities, adult children of aging parents, spouses/partners, as well as caregivers at differing stages in their caregiving role, and from diverse living situations, financial and educational backgrounds.
To learn more about the PTC program nationwide, please visit the national PTC website www.powerfultoolsforcaregivers.org.
To find out about PTC 6-week classes for caregivers in CT or to become a trained PTC class Leader in CT, please contact the NSCIA Connecticut Chapter at (203) 284-2910
PLEASE NOTE: Through a generous grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the Powerful Tools for Caregivers class book ($25 value) will be provided free of charge!