Caregivers should care for selves, too Seminar reminds caregivers to care for themselves, too
A free seminar offers insights into the emotional demands of the role and ways to beat stress and boost confidence
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Mary Merritt of Tigard, who got three hours of sleep a night while caring for her husband at home, belonged in the class.

So did Sharon Rowe of Banks, whose parents were four hours away in Bremerton, Wash., and running into health problems.

According to Kay Kirkbride, who teaches "Powerful Tools for Caregiving: Taking Care of You While Taking Care of Others," the emotional issues can be the same whether caregiving at home or across the country: Guilt, anger, depression and "the stress of 'Am I doing the right thing? Is my loved one getting the care they need?' "

"Powerful Tools for Caregiving," a free, six-session class starting Tuesday at Tuality Health Education Center in Hillsboro and at Intel this spring, helps caregivers learn how to navigate those emotions, ask for help and develop confidence about caregiving decisions.

Kirkbride could have used the class when she brought her ailing mother into her Hillsboro home.

Then a full-time nurse and volunteering in several organizations, Kirkbride says she should have cut back her time at work or quit volunteering. She did neither.

"I had all kinds of guilt, and I ran myself ragged," she said. Her mother died nine months later.

Kirkbride said she hopes to keep other people from making the mistakes she did.