Class offers tips for family caregivers of older adults

Class offers tips for family caregivers of older adults

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Powerful Tools for Caregivers open to UI faculty, staff, and students

Joanne Gritton, an administrative services coordinator in the Adult Palliative Care Program at University Hospitals and Clinics, is a caregiver to her parents. They were struggling to take care of themselves, were confused about when to get medications, and had both suffered from recent falls. Gritton and her siblings decided to move their parents into an assisted living facility.

To read a related story, see The changing face of caregiving.

Last fall, Gritton participated in Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a course designed to empower family caregivers of older adults to take better care of themselves.

The tools learned in the six-week series benefit caregivers by helping them reduce stress, improve caregiving confidence, establish balance in their lives, communicate their needs, make tough decisions, and locate helpful resources.

“The course reinforced we had made the appropriate decision to move my parents into an assisted living facility, and helped with feelings that maybe I should have done more,” says Gritton. “The course offers different ideas on ways to approach scenarios and situations. Every person has a different circumstance, and there are ways to make situations that look hopeless seem a lot more positive. “

“I enjoyed the course and would recommend it for anyone who is a caregiver for someone,” Gritton says. “We all need to take care of each other and ourselves.”

Nicole Studt, manager of Family Services, and Laura Scheetz, program coordinator in the UI Center on Aging, are certified to lead the course. The six-week course begins March 26 and any UI faculty, staff, or students can register by e-mailing Dorian Walker at in Learning and Development.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a national, evidence-based education program with class leaders trained in 36 states. Powerful Tools for Caregivers, an independent nonprofit organization, facilitates the program nationally and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is the lead organization bringing the program to Iowa communities. Evaluations indicate program participants improve self-care behaviors, management of emotions, self-efficacy, and use of community resources.

For more information, visit the UI Family Services website here, or the UI's Center on Aging here.


Nicole Studt, Family Services, 319-335-1371


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