National Program Gives Caregivers Powerful Tools

By Kuhn, Daniel; Shannon, Kathy | Aging Today, September/October 2004 | Go to article overview

National Program Gives Caregivers Powerful Tools

Kuhn, Daniel, Shannon, Kathy, Aging Today

"I was on the verge of depression. By taking this class, I now take care of myself by doing for myself.'

"If it hadn't been for this class, I would have gone over the edge'.'

What made a positive difference in the lives of the family caregivers quoted above was an innovative six-week educational program called Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC). Using a standardized, highly interactive curriculum, pairs of trained class leaders help caregivers develop and practice self-care "tools" in weekly 2 1/2-hour classes (see synopsis in box on this page). PTC supports family caregivers in a way that enhances their well-being as they care for relatives with chronic illnesses.

An abundance of education programs focus on how to care for a relative or friend who is chronically ill or has a disability. PTC, however, focuses on the caregiver's well-being with the assumption that when a caregiver practices self-care, the person receiving care also benefits. To date, the program has reached over 10,000 family caregivers and is being taught by class leaders in 15 states.

Modeled after the highly successful Chronic Disease Self-Management Program developed by Kate Lorig and colleagues at Stanford University, Legacy Caregiver Services of Portland, Ore., began to develop and test PTC with private funding in 1995. Pairs of class leaders use the scripted Class Leader's Guide and a variety of other teaching materials to show caregivers how to care for themselves, and participating caregivers receive The Caregiver Helpbook, a 300-page companion volume. Classes are held in such locations as senior centers, churches, adult day centers, retirement communities and nursing homes. Participants can be any family member or friend who provides any type of care for an older person with any chronic medical condition. Care recipients may live at home, in a care facility or a long distance from caregivers. Caregiving is broadly defined to include the full range of helping tasks, from occasional assistance with household chores to full-time supervision and personal care.


The six-week PTC program has been shown to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of diverse groups of caregivers, including racial and ethnic minorities-whether they are living in urban or rural areas, are adult children or spouses, or have provided care for a short time or for more than 10 years. Results of evaluations completed by participants indicate they experience:

* Increased self-care behaviors, such as physical exercise and use of relaxation techniques;

* Reduced depression, guilt and anger;

* Increased confidence in coping with caregiving demands;

* Increased use of community resources.

Grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation and Good Samaritan Foundation made it possible for Legacy Caregiver Services to disseminate PTC among underserved rural and ethnic minority communities in Oregon and translate many program materials into Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese. A significant amount of time was necessary to develop relationships with key stakeholders to successfully implement PTC into these communities. However, PTC has proven to be appropriate for rural and ethnic communities as long as providers address cultural, language, economic and literacy barriers.


The success of PTC is in part due to strong links between numerous sponsoring organizations and committed individuals who serve as class leaders. Organizations often support leaders' time for training and teaching, assist in recruiting participants, and provide meeting space and audiovisual equipment for classes. Legacy Caregiver Services will continue to work with sponsoring organizations and individuals to sustain PTC in Oregon. To ensure widespread dissemination of the program, Mather Life Ways of Evanston, Ill., has assumed national leadership through a cooperative agreement with Stanford and Legacy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

National Program Gives Caregivers Powerful Tools


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.