Caring for You, Caring for Me 

Education and Support for Family, Professional, and Volunteer Caregivers – 3rd Edition

This 10-hour program, conducted in five two-hour modules, addresses the needs of family and professional caregivers by bringing them together in a relaxed setting to discuss common issues, share ideas, and gain a better understanding of each other’s perspective on what it means to be a caregiver. The goals are for caregivers to have the opportunity to:

• Gain information on various topics related to caregiving
• Learn ways of coping with the stresses and strains of being a caregiver
• Learn what resources are available locally, regionally and nationally
• Discover ways of working together to reduce frustrations and barriers in the caregiving experience
• Share common concerns and issues

Course Content: 

• Module 1: What It Means to Be A Caregiver

This session is designed to introduce the program to participants, help them develop a broader understanding of caregiving, and provide an opportunity for sharing caregiving experiences with one another. A major goal of this session is to promote an atmosphere of openness and trust within the group and help participants understand that they are not alone.

• Module 2: Taking Care of Yourself

Caregivers often become focused on and consumed by the needs of care receivers and others involved in the caregiving process. As a result, they may neglect their own needs, failing to take care of themselves, identify possible repercussions if they don’t take care of themselves, and determine ways to improve their “self-care” skills. 

• Module 3: Building Cooperative Relationships

Caregiving relationships involve a minimum of three people: a care receiver, a family caregiver, and a professional caregiver. The relationship between family and professional caregivers is pivotal in providing appropriate, effective care for the third party, the care receiver. This session focuses on understanding and building cooperative relationships between the two types of caregivers. Professional and family caregivers have an opportunity to share their thoughts about which characteristics and behaviors make each type of caregiver “helpful” or “unhelpful”. They then offer advice to one another on improving their cooperation and collaboration. 

• Module 4: Preventing and Solving Problems

Over the course of a caregiving career, individuals are confronted with many types of problems. This session is designed to help participants understand and use a problem solving model. The model is introduced with a case study. Participants then spend time in small groups practicing use of the model on real problems group members are currently experiencing. 

• Module 5: Accessing and Developing Resources

Identifying and understanding resources available to caregivers in various communities is often intimidating and confusing – even to caregivers who work in an agency or organization included in the professional service system. This session is designed to help caregivers understand the barriers that prevent them from accessing resources; help them develop strategies for navigating the professional system of care and services; and learn about resources available in their communities. It is usually helpful to invite someone knowledgeable about local services to speak to participants during this session. Professional caregivers within the group should also be encouraged to share information about their agencies or organizations and the services they provide. 

Whom the Materials Are Designed to Serve: The Program Guide is designed for health care and human service professionals who lead groups and/or conduct educational or training programs for caregivers across diseases/disability groups throughout the lifespan.