Part of Healthy Aging MV's mission is to support elders by supporting their caregivers. There is a great need to encourage and provide physical and emotional respite to those who care for individuals as they age and especially to those who care for individuals with specific health issues such as neurodegenerative diseases including dementia. If you are interested in supporting caregivers, or if you are a caregiver yourself, please email Healthy Aging MV and let us know your needs or if you are available to volunteer for caregiver respite programs or with our new Friendly Visitor planning group.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers
Forty-three and a half million American adults are family caregivers for someone who is 50+ years of age and has one or more medical or disability challenges, while 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Initial research suggests that there are more than 1,000 people in our Island community who are daily taking care of, and making important decisions for, a family member or significant other.
Family caregivers frequently describe restriction of their own personal activities, and of social life, as a problem. They often feel they have no control over events, and the feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on their physical and emotional health. Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems of their own.
How can we take care of these caregivers?
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a program of self-care education sessions providing a wealth of tools and strategies to help family caregivers better handle the unique challenges they face. Healthy Aging Martha's Vineyard has received a grant, under Title III of the Older Americans Act, to provide this program.
In 2015 Healthy Aging Martha's Vineyard completed its first training of six people from Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, HopeHealth Hospice of Cape Cod, the HAMV Caregiver Support Work Group, and Mass General Hospital’s FTD Caregiver Support Program. These six will now be able to lead up to four series of the six-session program throughout the year, thus providing significant support to over 40 Island caregivers.
“About the time the class began, I was at my wits’ end,” attested one caregiver. “The communication tools will work toward maintaining a better atmosphere and contribute to improved attitudes for both of us... It will never be easy, but it is easier than it was six weeks ago!” - Powerful Tools for Caregiver participant
There is currently no charge to the Caregiver to attend the series, which includes a copy of The Caregiver Handbook.
For more information about the program, ask at your local council on aging or
Watch a video about Powerful Tools for Caregivers here.