Imagine if your father has dementia, your mom falls periodically and your neighbor struggles with grocery shopping. They all need your assistance now, in one way or another. Before you realized it, you entered a new phase of your life - caregiving.

Most have probably heard the word "caregiver," but what does it really mean? A caregiver is a relative or friend who provides care for an older or disabled adult. Caregiving can be as intense as providing around-the-clock care for a person with dementia, or as simple as regularly picking up groceries for a neighbor.

Caregiving is important work and it can be rewarding, but it can also be stressful. You are not alone. An estimated 679,000 Minnesotans are caregiving for an older or disabled adult.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a class designed to provide caregivers with the skills needed to take care of themselves as caregivers and increase confidence to provide care in difficult situations. Faith in Action for Cass County is sponsoring the six-week Powerful Tools for Caregivers class on Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 3, from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Walker Public Library, 207 Fourth St. South in Walker.

Theresa Eclov and Larellyn, certified Powerful Tools class leaders, will share tools and resources to help you reduce stress, improve self-confidence, balance your life, better communicate your feelings, increase ability to make decisions, and learn to locate helpful resources. Class materials include The Caregiver Helpbook, specifically designed for this evidence-based course, sponsored in part through the Central Minnesota Council on Aging.

Class-time care for your family member in your home may be requested through Faith in Action respite services in advance at no cost. The six-week classes are free; a small materials cost can be covered by a scholarship if needed. Preregistration is requested.

To register or for information on caregiver resources and respite programs, contact Theresa Eclov, Faith in Action for Cass County, at 218-675-5435 or cassfia@uslink.net.