Family caregiver tip of the month

Support groups, training for family caregivers

(Taken from Action for Happiness)

Gratitude is known to be good for us and those around us. Yet it isn’t always our automatic response and we often take the good things in our lives for granted. So we have to consciously learn to get into the habit of being grateful. Science is showing us that gratitude increases how much positive emotion we feel and decreases negative emotion. It raises our overall satisfaction with life and helps us have a positive outlook. It has also been shown to reduce health complaints and help us cope with difficulties.

Being grateful involves consciously spending a few minutes each day focusing on some of the good things that happen to us. By doing this, we start to notice what goes right as well as wrong in our lives. Even on a bad day there are some good things that happen, however small.

Every night. Before you go to bed, think back over your day and remember three good things that happened – things that went well, that you enjoyed or were grateful for. Try doing this for a week to start with.

Note them down. This is important. You may want to get a small notebook just for this purpose.

Think about why. For each thing you’re grateful for, write down why it happened and why you feel good about it. This may feel a bit tricky at first but you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Look back. After a week, have a look back on what you’ve written. How does it feel when you look at all these good things? Do you notice any themes?

Keep it up. Try keeping it up for another couple weeks at least. Many people find it becomes a bedtime habit. After a while you may find that you don’t need to do it every night. Three times a week or even once a week might be enough. You may also find that you start to appreciate the good things more as they happen.

Too often caregivers become trapped in a negative feedback loop and are unable to appreciate the small, joyful things that happen every day. This exercise may be able to help you focus on what you’re grateful for and may even start to help you feel better psychologically and physically.

Support groups, training schedule

The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following meetings and trainings in July:

July 2, Caregiver training, “The Educated Caregiver: Coping Skills,” at Sterling Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m.

July 9, Peer Support Meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 to 3 p.m.

July 15, Caregiver training, “Stopping a Stroke: Limiting the Damage Done,” at Kenai Senior Center, 1 to 3 p.m.

July 24, Caregiver training at Kenai Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. “The Senior Gems: Your Guide to Supporting Family Members with Dementia,” hosted by Genacta.

July 30, Caregiver Peer Support Meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 to 3 p.m.

There is no charge for these services and everyone is invited to attend. Training sessions provide 2 hours of Continuing Education Units for people with CNAs. For more information, call Dani at (907) 262-1280.


The Juneau Family Caregiver Support Group meets the second Wednesday of each month (July 10) in the conference room of KTOO’s studio, 360 Egan Drive, noon to 1:30 p.m.

The Ketchikan Family Caregiver Support Group meets the second Friday of each month (July 12), upstairs at the Ketchikan Senior Center at noon.

The Sitka Family Caregiver Support Group meets the third Wednesday of each month (July 17). For more information, call Brave Heart Volunteers, 747-4600.

Other locations

For information on caregiver support group meetings around the state:

Anchorage, 561-3313

Fairbanks, 452-2277

Homer, 235-2295

Juneau, 463-6164 or 463-6198

Ketchikan, 225-8080

Kodiak, 486-6181

Nome, 443-4507

Palmer/Wasilla, 746-3413

Sitka, 747-4600

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