If you're like most family caregivers, you aren't trained for the responsibilities you now face or have been facing for some time now. And you probably never anticipated you'd be in this situation. At the same time, you love your family member or friend and want to provide the best care you can. The good news is that you don't have to be a nursing expert, a superhero, or a saint in order to be a good caregiver. With the right help and support, you can be an effective, loving caregiver without having to sacrifice yourself in the process.
To aid in this endeavor, the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA) is offering a free, six-week educational program, “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” at Danbury Hospital in the Goldstone Caregiver Center on Thursday afternoons in May and June. During this class, family caregivers can learn personal strategies to reduce stress, communicate their feelings, balance the demands of daily life, increase their ability to make difficult decisions and locate helpful resources. Interactive lessons and discussions to help identify the “tools” needed daily for successful caregiving are woven throughout the curriculum. Barbara L. Newland, RVNA Director of Community Health & Wellness, and Maria Jordan, MSW, RVNA Volunteer, will be the course leaders.
“This course is designed for people who are providing care to a loved one. These folks experience high levels of stress and often put their own health at risk. For them, it is a very demanding job, often unpaid and often performed by people who also have children of their own,” said Newland. “Helping caregivers learn to manage the stress in this role can reduce their incidence of depression and improve their coping skills, and ultimately improve the quality of care they provide.”
The class schedule is as follows:
· May 11th: Taking Care of You - Make a weekly action plan for self-care.
· May 18th: Identifying and Reducing Personal Stress - Learn four steps for effective stress management, as well as relaxation activities to incorporate into your daily life.
· May 25th: Communicating Feelings, Needs & Concerns - Learn how to communicate using “I” messages.
· June 1st: Communicating in Challenging Situations - Incorporate communication tools which are helpful in difficult situations (with a segment specific to the memory impaired).
· June 8th: Learning from our Emotions - Identify constructive ways for dealing with difficult feelings -especially anger, guilt, and depression.
· June 15th: Mastering Caregiving Decisions - Learn tools for dealing with changes and for making difficult decisions.
All classes will be taking place on Thursdays from 1:30-4:00 pm in the Goldstone Caregiver Center, which is in the main lobby of the Buck Pavilion at Danbury Hospital. Parking in Rizzo Garage is suggested. The program and Caregiver Handbook, developed specifically for the class, are presented free of charge. Registration is limited to 15 participants, and participants are expected to attend all class sessions. Register by calling RVNA at 203.438.5555.
About The Speakers
Barbara L. Newland is Director of Community Health & Wellness for RVNA. Barbara has a degree in Business and Human Services with Certificates in Gerontology, Mental Health and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist. In addition, she is a member of the CT Geriatrics Society, Chair of the Western CT Geriatrics Council, and on the Board of the Commission on Aging in Danbury.
Maria Jordan, MSW, CAPS received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Medieval History/Business from Fordham University and a Master of Social Work in Public Policy in Aging from the University of Connecticut. She is a volunteer at RVNA and an elder advocate who is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, a Certified CHOICES Counselor and a Powerful Tools For Caregivers Leader.
Founded in 1914, RVNA is an accredited non-profit Medicare-certified home healthcare agency that also supports public health and safety, and promotes the highest quality of life. RVNA provides compassionate care to all individuals, whether young or old, through a continuum of care that encompasses health care at home and in the community. RVNA also provides home health aides and companionship through a non-medical subsidiary called HomeCare by RVNA and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy in its Rehab by RVNA facility at 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield.
To Contact RVNA
Call RVNA at 203-438-5555. Visit RVNA at www.ridgefieldvna.org.