In 2004, we partnered with the Erie County Caregiver Coalition and the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professionals to bring Powerful Tools for Caregivers to Western New York. Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a six-week educational program designed to provide caregivers with the tools they need to take care of themselves. This includes relaxation and stress management techniques, ways to communicate in challenging situations and dealing with difficult feelings.
We awarded grants to lead agencies in counties across western and central New York to train individuals to become certified class leaders in the Powerful Tools for Caregivers curriculum, and also provided the materials and supplies to support the curriculum. Each county’s lead organization was responsible for planning, promoting and offering the caregiver classes, while also identifying community resources to assist in long-term program stability.
We initially supported the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara, Onondaga, Oswego and Tompkins counties. We later expanded it to Cayuga, Chautauqua, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Class evaluations were overwhelmingly positive, with caregivers reporting that they were connecting to local services and programs.
A 2013 evaluation report describes lessons learned from the coalition’s efforts to increase diversity among participants in Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes by recruiting and training leaders to run the classes in African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities from 2008 to 2012.