Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes help caregivers take better care of themselves while caring for a friend or relative.
There are over 4,600 trained Class Leaders teaching the class at different locations around the United States, as well as in Canada and Korea. The curriculum is available in English, French, Korean, and Spanish. The caregiver class is available online or in-person, depending on location.
Continue reading below to find out more about our Program Origins, Caregiver Class Content, Outcomes, and References & Recognition.
In the six weekly classes, caregivers learn self-care tools to:
Increased Exercise, Relaxation, and Medical Check-Ups
Reduced Guilt, Anger, and Depression
Increased Confidence in Coping With Caregiving Demands
Increased Use of Local Services
The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program is an evidence-based education program offering a unique combination of elements.
The PTC curriculum was developed over three years of pilot testing in Portland, Oregon and offered since 1998. Originally developed to reach caregivers of adults with chronic conditions, Powerful Tools for Caregivers has expanded the program to include classes for parents of children with special needs. Six class sessions held once a week are led by certified, experienced class leaders. Classes range in size between 8-15 caregivers.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit program, sustained by collaborations with community-based organizations. Community and government agencies, healthcare facilities, cooperative extension services, and faith-based organizations host the classes, provide trained Class Leaders, and/or fund the class materials.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers has been the recipient of a number of prestigious grants, that have supported the development and expansion of the program, including: Meyer Memorial Trust, Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The PTC class curriculum meets the highest-level criteria of evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion programs per the Administration on Aging/Administration for Community Living. The PTC class series received a 2007 National Family Caregiving Award.
PTC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement:
At Powerful Tools for Caregivers, we respect diverse life experiences and heritages, and believe every person brings a unique perspective that helps advance our mission and advocacy for caregiver self-care.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an inclusive program for caregivers participating in the educational program, class leaders and master trainers who assume program leadership roles, and human services organizations and collaborators.
We recognize that caregivers often don’t have equal access to education and support services and we make it a priority to reach out to underserved communities and to address barriers for caregiver support.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers strives to be a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace where all employees, volunteers, and board members, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability, feels respected and appreciated.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers gives you the skills to take care of yourself while caring for someone else.
By taking care of your own health and well-being, you become a better caregiver. Six class sessions held once a week are led by experienced class leaders. Class participants are given The Caregiver Helpbook to accompany the class and provide additional caregiver resources.
The class will give you tools to help:
- Reduce Stress
- Improve Self-Confidence
- Manage Time, Set Goals, and Solve Problems
- Better Communicate Their Feelings
- Locate Helpful Resources
- Make Tough Decisions
Our 6-week PTC class has been shown to have a positive impact on caregiver health.
Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems. Caregivers frequently cite restriction of personal activities and social life as problems. They often feel they have no control over events, and that feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health.
In the years since the program began, extensive research, evaluation and revision has been done to ensure its continued value and success. The 6-week PTC class has been shown to have a positive impact on caregiver health for a diverse group of caregivers including:
- Diverse ethnic communities
- Adult children of aging parents
- Caregivers of children with special health and behavioral needs
- Caregivers in both rural and urban communities
- Spanish and Korean speaking caregivers
References & Recognition
In 2012 the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program was deemed to have met the highest-level criteria of evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion programs by the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging. To access a listing on the NCOA web site go to the NCOA website’s AoA Title III D web page and scroll to page 31.
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (2019), “Effectiveness of Powerful Tools for Caregivers on Caregiver Burden and on Care Recipient Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” A. Terracciano et al.
Activities, Adaptation, & Aging (2019), “Pilot Study of a Telehealth Delivery Method for Powerful Tools for Caregivers.” Serwe, K. M., & Walmsley, A. L. E. Research Article
Home Healthcare Now (2019), “Increasing Caregiver Access to Programming: A Qualitative Exploration of Caregivers’ Experience of a Telehealth Powerful Tools for Caregivers.” Serwe, K.M., Scloer, L, & Vigna, S. Research Article
International Journal of Telerehabilitation (2018), “The Provider’s Experience of Delivering an Education-Based Wellness Program Via Telehealth.” Katrina M. Serwe. Research Article
Boise State University Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (2018), “Using Quantitative Methods to Assess Program Effectiveness.” Jordy LePiane, Yonnie Chyung. Research Poster
Journal of Occupational Therapy Education (2018), “Telehealth Experiential Learning: A Pilot Study of the Client’s Experience.” Serwe, K. M., & Bowman, C. Research Article
International Journal of Telerehabilitation (2017), “Feasibility of Using Telehealth to Deliver the “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” Program.” Serwe, K. M., Hersch, G. I., & Pancheri, K. Research Article
American Journal of Occupational Therapy (2017), “Brief Report—Caregiver Perceptions of a Telehealth Wellness Program.” Serwe, K. M., Hersch, G. I., Pickens, N. D., & Pancheri, K. Research Article
Western Institute of Nursing Research Conference (2015), “The Management of Emotions in Caregivers of Special Needs Children.” Carla M. Hagen, Melissa N. LaRue. Research Poster
Western Institute of Nursing Research Conference (2014), “Confidence and Awareness of Personal Health in Caregivers of Special Needs Children.” Carla M. Hagen, Melissa N. LaRue. Research Poster
Western Institute of Nursing Research Conference (2013), “Improving the Confidence Level of Caregivers of Children with Special Needs.” Carla M. Hagen, Melissa N. LaRue. Research Poster
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (2013), “Receiving while giving: The differential roles of receiving help and satisfaction with help on caregiver rewards among spouses and adult-children.” Marie Y. Savundranayagam. Research Article
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (2010), “Impact of a psychoeducational program on three types of caregiver burden among spouses.” Marie Y. Savundranayagam, Rhonda J.V. Montgomery, Karl Kosloski, Todd D. Little. Research Article
Journal of Family Social Work (2010), “Testing Self-Efficacy as a Pathway That Supports Self-Care Among Family Caregivers in a Psychoeducational Intervention.” Marie Y. Savundranayagam, Mary Brintnall-Peterson. Research Article
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (2008), “Community-based “powerful tools” intervention enhances health of caregivers.” Chang Won Won, Sally Sizer Fitts, Susy Favaro, Pat Olsen, Elizabeth A. Phelan. Research Article
Age in Action (2007), “Powerful Tools for Caregivers: Teaching Skills That Reduce Stress and Increase Self-Confidence.” Ed Rosenberg, Natasha Gouge. Research Article
Educational Gerontology (2005), “Empowering Family Caregivers: The Powerful Tools for Caregiving Program.” Linda Boise, Leslie Congleton, Kathy Shannon. Research Article
Alzheimer’s Care Quarterly (2003), “Powerful Tools for Caregivers: Improving Self-Care and Self-Efficacy of Family Caregivers.” Daniel Kuhn, Bradley R. Fulton, Perry Edelman. Research Article