Caregiver classes to be offered in Aurora

AURORA, Wis. — Caring for an older adult can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride, filled with good times and periods of stress and challenges. These emotional ups and downs often occur during the course of one day.

To help handle the highs and lows of caregiving, the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County will offer a Powerful Tools for Caregivers Class.

Classes will be 10 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday from Sept. 18 to Oct. 23 at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Woodland Regional Learning Center in Aurora.

It is normal to experience a large array of emotions when providing care for a loved one. Caregivers who report higher levels of satisfaction have learned the skill of managing their negative emotions. They are also able to focus on all of the benefits of caregiving.

— Growing closer to their loved one as they spend time together;

— Feeling enhanced self-worth for coping with a difficult situation;

“Repaying” their loved one who used to care for them;

— Having an increased sense of purpose in their life and a sense of achievement.

But no matter how positive a person is, negative feelings still will come. The first step toward managing these feelings is to recognize them before they become problematic.

Some common emotions that creep up on caregivers are frustration, anger, fear and guilt. Some early warning signs of these feelings may be tension, headaches and increased impatience.

As soon as negative feelings surface, the caregiver should step back and calm down before those emotions take over.

The following techniques can be helpful in keeping such negative emotions at bay:

— Take some slow, deep breaths;

— Look at the event in a different way, with the goal of trying to understand the other persons’ perspective;

— Leave the room for awhile;

— Remember the good times;

— Participate in physical activity;

— Concentrate on the benefits and rewards of caregiving.

When calm again, think about what triggered the negative emotion and how it could have been avoided. Those negative feelings can be used as a catalyst for change.

The caregiver may realize a need for more respite care, a change in routine, an outlet for emotional needs such as a support group or to distribute tasks to family members.

Negative emotions may not be pleasant, but the anger and frustration don’t have to be endured. This class can help in learning to recognize the warning signs, get calm and initiate change to prevent it from happening again.

Life for a caregiver is like a rollercoaster ride, so buckle up and prepare for a thrilling ride.

There is a $10 registration fee, which includes six weekly sessions and The Caregiver Helpbook.

For more information or to register for the class, contact the ADRC of Florence County office at 715-528-4890.

Class size is limited and pre-registration is required by Tuesday, Sept. 11, a week before the class is to start.

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