Though we don’t like to admit it, many of us have health concerns as we age. When a loved one has a stroke or develops dementia or Parkinson’s disease, families face sudden, unexpected caregiving challenges. The fact is, each of us has been a caregiver, will be a caregiver or will need care during our lifetime. Statistics show that 40-70% of caregivers will die before their loved ones.
 
Jackson Presbyterian Church, together with the ThreeRivers Area Agency on Aging, teamed up recently to challenge that statistic. Our church welcomed Emily Rogers (LPC) and Valerie Duke (Stephen Minister) from the ThreeRivers Area Agency on Aging to provide six free weekly classes for caregivers.  Participants came from the local senior center, the community, and our congregation. By providing the course, we hoped to witness to God’s love in the midst of some of life’s most difficult struggles. We wanted to help break the sense of isolation that often accompanies caregiving.  
 
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an evidence-based course designed to help caregivers reduce stress, make difficult caregiving decisions, and prevent burnout. Together, we watched videos, heard presentations, and practiced new skills. During fellowship time, we shared rich conversations and enjoyed home-baked goodies. We developed close bonds. The seminars have paid big dividends in supportive friendships lasting far beyond our last session. JPC plans to offer the course again the first of the year
 

For more information on Powerful Tool for Caregivers, contact Emily Rogers at ThreeRivers Area Agency on Aging, 678-552-2850 or erogers@threeriversrc.com; www.threeriversrc.com/aging/caregiver-support.php