Caregiver classes help people look after loved ones

People thrust into the role of caregiver for a loved one face many challenges.

The emotional adjustment of taking care of an ill or infirm wife, husband, mother or father at home is difficult enough. But add to that the tricky practical issues that come with caregiving, and it can quickly become overwhelming.

That’s why the Center for Compassionate Care of Nathan Adelson Hospice offers monthly “Yes You Can” caregiver crisis training, education and awareness classes to Southern Nevadans.

During the daylong sessions, family members learn about topics ranging from drug administration to proper techniques for lifting a loved one into and out of a chair.

Just as important, adds Cassandra Cotton, the hospice’s community relations and outreach director, “we also take them through time management … and setting boundaries.”

That’s important because the stress of caregiving can lead to burnout, she says. “So we try to teach (caregivers) some of the basics in regard to that.”

Typically, family members learn to become caregivers by trial and error. But, while taking the classes, Cotton says, family members often are surprised to discover what they’re capable of.

“We’ve had some really good feedback from the community,” she says.

Cotton notes also that the classes are useful not only for caregivers whose loved ones are experiencing chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, but for caregivers whose loved ones are dealing with shorter-term issues, too.

“It could be a man who’s taking his wife home after breast removal (surgery),” she says, who might lament that ” ‘I can’t do this. I can’t.’ We encourage him: Yes, you can.”

“It’s so important to have help with this,” Cotton says, “especially this day and this time, when people want to stay home and want to be cared for at home and be surrounded by things that are meaningful to them.”

For more information on the program, call 796-3176 or 733-0320.

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