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Benton Harbor program helps family caregivers reduce stress

Caregivers sacrifice so much to take care of a loved one in need. And often times, forget about taking care of themselves. But one Michiana organization is trying to change that.

Child and Family Services of Southwestern Michigan is offering a six-week long educational series for family caregivers called “Powerful Tools For Caregivers.”

“A lot of people think ‘Powerful Tools for Caregiving’ teaches you how to care for a loved one, but people already know how to do that. What they do is forget about themselves and to be a good caregiver you have to take care of yourself,” said Kathy Hammond, Supervisor of Harbor House Adult Day Care Services.

The class provides them with the tools needed to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, balance their lives and it also serves as a support group.

Situations like this happen more often than not.

“It becomes a danger for them because their health may deteriorate and they’re not taking care of themselves like the way they should,” said Joseph Goepfrich, Executive Director of Child and Family Services of Southwestern Michigan.

Certified facilitators lead the class. Caregivers have open discussions, brainstorm and find helpful resources over the course of the six-week period.

“Every week, they have to work on something like go for a walk, take a day and go shopping, or read a book do things that you used to like to do,” Hammond said.

The current session is in its third week and meets on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 4:00 P.M. at Harbor House in Benton Harbor.

To learn more about the program and future classes, call 269-934-7355 ext. 115 or visit www.cfsswmi.org  

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