Every 10 years, the White House hosts a conference on aging. Regional forums were held around the country to gather public input on issues of concern for the White House conference in 2015. I was privileged to attend the White House Conference on Aging regional forum in Seattle.
One of the top five issues identified was “caregiver education and support.” I learned a lot about the needs of our aging population and the impacts on the people who are supporting them.
What is a “caregiver?” It seems like a simple question but one of the things I’ve learned is that people simply don’t identify with that word. They think, “Oh, I’m just helping mom with a few chores,” or, “Oh, I’m just making sure my spouse takes his medications.” They don’t realize that—paid or not—these responsibilities mean they are indeed a caregiver!
This October, with a generous grant from the KCLS Foundation, the King County Library System is providing classes for caregiver education and support. Held at five locations around the county, these classes are intended for people who are caring for family members or others—especially but not limited to older adults—on either a paid or unpaid basis. Because caregiving can be so draining, we focused on classes highlighting ways caregivers could take care of themselves on their caregiving path.
- Caregiver Burnout: Is Your Flame About to Fizzle? Hear from the caregiving professionals and learn the warning signs of caregiver burnout together with strategies for addressing stress. Presented by Aging Wisdom.
- Coping with Losses in CareSharing—Moving Toward Hope: Explore how loss and grief affect care partners. Practical suggestions and resources will be shared so that participants can develop their own action plans, building on their internal strengths and community resources. Presented by Marty Richards, MSW, LICSW.
- Emotional Freedom Techniques—Tapping for Reducing Guilt and Overwhelm: Feelings of love and compassion when caring for a loved one can often turn to feelings of anger, resentment, guilt and being overwhelmed. Join Dr. Melissa Hankins as she helps you to understand these emotions and learn a simple technique to help release them. Presented by Melissa Hankins, MD.
- Every Day Love—to Lower Stress: Join Dr. Jane Tornatore as she takes a deep dive into four practical strategies that help you shift into a deeper place of self-love. You will leave with easy-to-remember tools to reduce worry, quiet your mind, shift your attitude and make feelings more manageable. Presented by Jane Tornatore, PhD.
- Let’s Move More to Feel Better—Have Fun While Juggling It All: Discover fun and easy ways to increase physical activity at home for yourself and the person you care for. Bring your pen and come dressed to play; seated options available. Presented by medical exercise specialist Lisa Stuebing, Mud Puddle Fitness.
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: Learn how the state advocates for residents of nursing homes, adult family homes, and assisted living facilities. Presented by the representatives from the Office of the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
- Mask Making for Halloween: Art is a great way to connect and express ourselves. This Halloween, have fun making and decorating simple masks. Materials supplied—bring your sense of humor and imagination! Designed and facilitated by Silver Kite Community Arts, LLC.
- Music and Caregiving: Unleash the power of music to connect with your loved one, ease caregiving tasks, and revive your spirit. No musical experience required. Presented by Meg Harmon, MT-BC.
- Using Your Creativity in the Trenches—A Practical Approach for Family Care Partners: Join us for this practical workshop where family care partners will receive strategies and hands-on resources for approaching common caregiving challenges. Presented by Chris Poole.
Classes vary by location. Dates and times are listed on the Aging King County calendar. Please call the site to confirm the class date and pre-register:
- Federal Way Senior Center (4016 S 352nd St, Auburn, WA 98001): 253-838-3604
- Issaquah Library (10 W Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027): 425-392-5430
- Peter Kirk Senior Center (352 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033): 425-587-3360
- Renton Library (100 Mill Ave S, Renton, WA 98055): 425-226-6043
- Shoreline Library (345 NE 175th St Shoreline, WA 98155): 206-362-7550
Do you know of a caregiving support group of some kind? Please help us spread the word and invite the members of group!
Does your loved one require care so you can attend? Contact Community Living Connections at 206-962-8467 or email@example.com for an assessment to help you arrange for respite care services.
Reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities are available at the classes. Please contact the specific library prior to the event if you have accessibility questions or require an accommodation.
Contributor Wendy Pender coordinates programs for older adults at all King County Library System libraries. For more information, contact Wendy at 425-369-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The library offers a wealth of caregiver resources.
Emotional, physical, and financial stress is not your friend!
If you are a caregiver, take the time to recharge. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too. Call today to request a free consultation with a caregiving specialist:
Community Living Connections
All calls are free and confidential. If you are an unpaid caregiver, most services are free of charge.