Free training, support for family caregivers

The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program has moved into a new office located at 35477 Kenai Spur Highway, Suite 205 (located in the 4D Professional Building). You can call them at 907-262-1280 or email

Caregiver support group meetings will be held at the following locations in November. This month’s activity will be playing bingo, with caregiver appreciation gifts provided. Bingo is from 1 to 2 p.m., with support group meetings following, 2 to 3 p.m.

Nov. 3 Sterling Senior Center,

Nov.12 Soldotna Senior Center

Nov. 16 Kenai Senior Center

Nov. 24 Nikiski Senior Center

Support meetings allow you to share your experiences as a caregiver, or support someone who is a caregiver. If you are helping a family member or friend by being a caregiver, learn what kind of help is available. There is no charge for these services and everyone is invited to attend. Call with suggestions and ideas for upcoming trainings or follow on Facebook, @KPFCSP.

The Homer Area Caregiver Support Group has resumed its monthly meetings in the Homer Senior Center multi-purpose room. For more information, call Pam Hooker at 907-299-7198 or Janet Higley at 907-235-4291.


Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska (ARA) organizes caregiver support meetings all around the state, including the following locations: Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau/Southeast, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su Valley, Seward, Sitka, Soldotna, Talkeetna, Willow. Call 1-800-478-1080 for details.

ARA also hosts a statewide call-in meeting on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of every month, 1 to 2 p.m. For additional information, call Gay Wellman, 907-822-5620 or 1-800-478-1080l.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Since at least 2000, presidents have designated November as National Family Caregivers Month to honor the more than 40+ million caregivers across the country who support aging parents, ill spouses or other loved ones with disabilities to remain at home. This year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock.” Celebrating family caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month enables all of us to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, educate family caregivers about self-identification and increase support for family caregivers.

Family caregivers are the unsung heroes of today. These caregivers support the people we all love. Caregivers take on a variety of roles since providing this care can come in all forms, from taking mom to the doctor’s office, to managing medications, to the total care of a loved one.

According to the website, the top five reasons caregiving is so tough are as follows:

Over half the caregivers are women. Where’s the other half?

One out of every four caregivers reports diminished family relationships because of caring for a loved one

Most caregivers work outside the home either in part- or full-time jobs in addition to their caregiving responsibilities.

Over a million American young people age eight to 18 care for an adult relative on a daily basis.

Nearly 70 percent of caregivers report they don’t see their doctor regularly because of their responsibilities.

Use this month to consider the way in which you go about your caregiving and find new ways to make it less stressful:

Learn to ask for and accept help

Find ways to care for yourself to stay strong and to care for your loved one

Shift your thinking into new patterns of doing family celebrations that make room for the reality of your caregiving.

Pat yourself on the back—or take yourself out to lunch, a movie, some kind of treat—as a way of saying thanks. You deserve it.

In the meantime, here are some “You Know You’re a Caregiver If…” jokes to help lighten your day from Jeff Foxworthy and Peter Rosenberger:

If you are adept at opening doors with your butt so you can pull a wheelchair…you might be a caregiver.

If you start dividing your M&M’s into a pill box…you might be a caregiver.

If you are on a first name basis with the hospital security guard, you might be a caregiver.

If you’ve ever used the word “Neosporin” as a verb (“hold still, I gotta Neosporin this so we can get to church on time”), you might be a caregiver.

If you’ve ever hooked your dog up to your spouse’s wheelchair just to see if it would work, you might be a caregiver.

If you can remember your parent’s Social Security Number but you can’t remember your own, you might be a caregiver.

If a hospital bed has not hampered your love life, you might be a caregiver.

And finally, if you’ve ever changed a dressing while cooking a turkey with dressing, you might be a caregiver.

— Dani Kebschull, Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program

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