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In the News

Fayette County AgriLife Extension busts caregiver stress

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fayette County AgriLife Extension Service agents and Fayette County volunteers added another evidence based intervention (EBI) program to their repertoire to help older Americans continue to live as independently as possible. In May, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) led the group through a Stress-Busting for Family Caregivers group facilitator training course allowing them to coach proven stress management methods to those who care for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia or chronic illness.

Stress-Busting for Family Caregivers is a nationally recognized program that instructs family caregivers about techniques and benefits of reducing stress to improve caregivers and patients’ quality of life. CAPCOG, working as AAACAP, delivers the program to communities throughout the ten-county region, but it also certifies volunteer coaches to lead the program, so they can offer the program in their own communities. “Teaching volunteer coaches for EBI programs enables these valuable programs to reach a larger audience at more convenient times for the older Americans or their caregivers,” said Kate Gibbons, CAPCOG health and wellness coordinator. “When an organization like the Fayette County AgriLife Extension Service requests to become coaches of EBI programs and find other volunteers to do the same, it gives us the opportunity to improve more lives.”

Fayette County’s population is steadily growing and about 23 percent of its population is 65 years old or older, so the Extension Service and a steering committee of seniors wanted to make providing programs such as Stress-Busting to the county’s residents a high priority, said Sally Garrett, a county extension agent. “There is a lot of stress for individuals who are caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients or those with chronic illnesses, and I know a lot of people here are family caregivers. Being able to teach Stress-Busting workshops lets us educate caregivers about caring for themselves, but I think those who take the course will also create valuable peer-support groups.”

Having led “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls” workshops for more than a year, the Extension Service and other organizations in the county have experienced the benefits of conducting EBI programs taught by AAACAP, Garrett said. “People have come up and told us (the programs) have made a difference in their lives, and that they are living healthier.” Stress-Busting will be another beneficial success for seniors in Fayette County, she said.

AAACAP also leads EBI programs on topics of fall prevention and chronic disease self-management.

> Learn more about EBI programs offered by AAACAP or schedule an EBI program.
> Read about AAACAP.

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