8-week Self-Care Series Pilot

We are 4-weeks into an 8-week Caregiver Self-Care Series Program up in Concord, NH at Havenwood Heritage Heights, a Continuing Care Retirement Community for people over age 62. The program was marketed via flyers and a campus newsletter.  It was offered as a free activity for any caregiver on the 600+ person campus who wished to join either an afternoon or evening weekly group.  Group members are told when joining that this is an educational project – a final project for my CPE program, serving also as a pilot for similar programs I hope to offer in the future at my home-based retreat center and school for caregivers, in Topsfield, MA.

The pilot program goals are to:

  1. Educate dementia caregivers on the topic of self-care 
  2. Empower & support an at-home daily wellness practice
  3. Learn how to reach caregivers most in need
  4. Test, request feedback, and learn effective program delivery approaches

The program offers a multi-intervention approach (evidence-based) over 8 consecutive weeks.  Two small-groups (Group A and Group B) on two separate campuses (1 and 2), meet once-a-week, Tuesday afternoons (60 minutes) and evenings (90 minutes). Small groups are limited to 8 members.  Members receive self-care wellness education, skill-training, one-on-one coaching, small-group facilitation and coaching, and opportunities for peer-networking. 

4-week program feedback themes from Group A caregivers:

  • All belong to a supportive group weekly.
  • All report they are learning new self-care information.
  • They are learning: 7 Sustainable Skills for the Long-term Care Journey – Song & Dance; Meditation; Self-focus; Goal-setting; Being more aware of self, surroundings, body/mind/heart/spirit.
  • All report they are practicing self-care skills at home.
  • Most are networking with peers in the group (in and outside of the group).
  • Few are checking-in one-on-one with a coach weekly.

Early program feedback, week 2, I asked Group B caregivers the question, “Why are not more caregivers taking advantage of/signed-up for this program?” The two male caregivers who were present suggested that perhaps there are too many caregiver support programs happening right now.  This one is in addition to a monthly caregiver support group, and a caregiver day (4-hour program) is scheduled for February 17.

Staying true to the mission statement I wrote in 2010 (one of several bullet points):   

We lead and participate in research that aims to understand the effectiveness of care giver and receiver health programs.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

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