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Powerful Tools for Caregivers

The PTC program and all materials were developed over 3 years of pilot testing, refinement, and evaluative research at Legacy Caregiver Services in Portland, Oregon.  Initiated through grant funding, the program has been offered since 1998.  As of 2011, over 1,700 Class Leaders have been trained in more than 30 states.  Powerful Tools for Caregivers materials have reached over 70,000 caregivers.

In 2007, PTC received the National Family Caregiver Award for innovation, responsiveness and effectiveness from the National Alliance for Caregiving and the MetLife Foundation.  In 2009, PTC received the Network of Multicultural Aging Excellence Award from the American Society on Aging/AARP.

Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems.  Caregivers frequently cite restriction of personal activities and social life as problems.  They often feel they have no control over events – and that feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers' physical and emotional health.

In the six weekly classes, family caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools to:  reduce personal stress; change negative self-talk; communicate their needs to family members and healthcare/service providers; communicate more effectively in challenging situations; recognize the messages in their emotions, deal with difficult feelings; and make tough caregiving decisions (re: placement, driving issues, or finances).  Class participants also receive a copy of The Caregiver Helpbook (3rd ed.), developed specifically for the class.

Since the program’s inception, a great deal of research, evaluation and revision has been done to ensure its continued value and success.  The 6-week PTC class has been shown to have a positive impact on caregiver health for a diverse group of caregivers including rural, ethnic minorities, adult children of aging parents, well-spouses/partners, caregivers at differing stages in their caregiving role, living situations, financial and educational backgrounds.  

For more information please contact Megan Bakan or Stephanie Pollack at 386-2778.