Are you an unpaid caregiver providing care for a loved one? When was the last time you took time for yourself and went to a movie, had lunch with a friend, worked out … did anything just for you? If you can’t remember, or if your answer is that you’re only giving yourself 15 minutes a day to eat breakfast or lunch, that’s not enough. It may seem insurmountable, however, you really need to make more time for yourself or you might find yourself short-tempered, depressed, isolated or even sick.
The AAA 1-B will begin teaching a six-week Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) course this month in Madison Heights (January 13) and Troy (January 23). More classes will be offered in West Bloomfield, Ypsilanti and Sterling Heights in the next few months. The PTC class was specifically designed to help family caregivers take better care of themselves as they care for others. Typically, caregivers think of themselves last, and this class will help them to:
• Relax and reduce stress
• Take better care of themselves
• Reduce guilt, anger and depression
• Communicate effectively with family members, doctors and their staff, in-home help
• Make tough decisions
• Set goals and problem solve
• Be aware of community resources
But you may be thinking, “How am I supposed to make time for a class for six weeks when I don’t have time for myself now?” Some suggestions might be enlisting the help of a family member or friend for this short time period. Perhaps a word to your faith leader might elicit assistance from someone in your church or synagogue. If you have paid aides coming in to help you, consider having them stay a bit longer, or change their schedule, to make this opportunity a reality for you. There’s also adult day care and organizations like SameAddress which can be hired for the short-term. If cost is an issue, is there a friend or family member who has been offering help that might be happy to make this happen for you?
Before you automatically say “No,” take a moment and think about it. This is about you. You are important, too. You are worthy of support. You will be a better caregiver if you are cared for too.
You can register for the class by calling (800) 852-7795, then press “1” for Trainings.