Pilot program to assist caregiversWORTHINGTON — If you have ever had to care for an ailing spouse or a special needs child, you undoubtedly are aware of the immense responsibility that comes with being the primary caregiver.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — If you have ever had to care for an ailing spouse or a special needs child, you undoubtedly are aware of the immense responsibility that comes with being the primary caregiver.
A new class aimed at providing caregivers with tools to reduce stress and maintain their own health will begin Feb. 17 in Worthington. The class is offered through District 518 Community Education from 1:30 to 4 p.m. each Tuesday afternoon for six weeks, and will be led by RSVP Coordinator Joanne Bartosh.
Bartosh said the course, which is a pilot project in Minnesota, will teach caregivers to focus more on themselves.
“Their focus is always on who they’re taking care of,” she said. “They tax themselves so much they end up dying before the person they’re taking care of.”
RSVP already offers a respite program in the county, although Bartosh said finding people to take advantage of the service is often difficult. People tend to think they don’t need any help, or don’t feel comfortable asking someone to come and watch their loved one while they take a little break.
During the six-week class, Bartosh said she will work with caregivers on ideas they can implement to relieve the stress of taking care of someone else.
“One of the things will be to set achievable goals,” she said, adding that goals can be as simple as a caregiver taking time out of each day to do something they enjoy like reading a book, going for a walk or visiting with friends.
The class will also help caregivers learn to identify stress and ways to deal with it, how to communicate effectively with professionals, improve their decision-making skills and be able to recognize and treat feelings such as anger and depression.
“Caregivers have a lot of decisions to make and sometimes it’s hard for them to focus in and let some things go,” Bartosh said. “They need to learn that they have limits. Take a look around — (find help) and take care of yourself.”
RSVP will provide respite care for individuals while their caregivers attend the classes. Advanced requests for the service are required, and may be made by contacting Bartosh at 295-5262.
Caregivers interested in taking the class may call Community Education at 376-6105.