Caring for yourself when caring for others

Sequim Gazette

A six-week program for caregivers of older adults aims to teach them something that seems simple but easily is forgotten: How to take care of themselves.

The program, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, is offered through the Olympic Area Agency on Aging four times this year ­­— once each quarter.

Carolyn Lindley, of the Senior Information Assistance Family Caregiver Support Program, said the program gives caregivers the tools they need not just to care for their aging friend or family member but also to care for themselves.

“You are giving care to someone that you love and as a person becomes more incapacitated because of their illness the more the caregiver becomes controlling because they have lost control of their life,” Lindley said. “The person who is giving the care is put at a grave disadvantage. They have love for the person but then they begin to resent them and then they feel guilty.”

Lindley said often caregivers won’t even admit to their own feelings of guilt or depression.

“(The program) helps give tools to people,” she said. “They learn new skills and techniques to deal with the emotional problems and burdens that occur.”

The six-week course gives caregivers tools to help reduce stress; communicate effectively with other family members, doctors and paid help; take care of themselves; reduce guilt, anger and depression;  relax; make tough decisions; set goals and problem solve.

“(Caregivers) walk away feeling better about themselves,” Lindley said. “They feel more in control of their own emotions. They are more in control about how they feel about the person receiving care.”

The program was developed by Legacy Caregiver Services in Portland, Ore. It comes with a how-to book covering topics such as hiring in-home help, helping memory-impaired elders, making legal and financial decisions, understanding depression and making decisions about driving.

The class begins Jan. 20 and is held from 1-3:30 p.m. every Thursday through Feb. 24 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 Blake Ave., Sequim. Registration is required and class size is limited. To register, call Carolyn Lindley at 417-8554.

Reach Amanda Winters at



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