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Delivering Powerful Caregiver Tools

Delivering Powerful Caregiver Tools

Social worker Helen Jevnikar is enthusiastic about the potential benefits of the new Powerful Tools for Caregivers program at McCormick Dementia Services.

Helen Jevnikar has helped many people over the years in her role as social worker.  While she has been involved in offering several excellent programs to help those living with dementia in her work at McCormick Dementia Services, her genuine enthusiasm for a new program being offered for caregivers of people with dementia is exceptional.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a course developed by the South West Self-Management Program and is being delivered by McCormick Dementia Services. The first program began in March.

“What makes this program different is that it is entirely focused on the caregiver,” says Helen.  “While many people are used to talking about their loved one, the sessions change that focus to talking about yourself as a caregiver, which can be difficult for people at first.”

The six-week course was developed from evidence-based research practices and addresses the specific needs of caregivers who are living at home and caring for a loved one with dementia 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  A key aspect of the program is the focus on education rather than support, although being surrounded by those facing the same situation is beneficial in itself.  In order for participants to get the most out of the experience, enrolment is limited to 15 people.  Plans are to offer the free program to the community three times per year.

“I’m particularly excited that the course addresses the key issues I come across regularly in my work with caregivers – specifically, managing your own emotions and recognizing the need to take care of yourself first,” says Helen of the common caregiver-burnout experience that happens when people focus all their energy on their loved one.  “Basically, they have nothing left to give of themselves,” she says.

“The reality is there are at least two people impacted for every one person being diagnosed.  We’re hoping to help people manage through that challenge.”

For more information, please contact McCormick Dementia Services at 519-439-9336 or e-mail