Wrinkled hands

Doctor's hand holding a wrinkled elderly hand

Ocskay Mark

Beginning the new year with thoughts of self-improvement is the norm for many.

The Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas will be offering new classes, including some in Killeen, that will help people adjust to changes in their lives and others.

New in 2018 are:

Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a self-care education for family caregivers that will help individuals master the tools to make difficult tasks more manageable.

“We know two things about caregiving,” said Faith Unger, caregiver program director for AGE of Central Texas. “The job grows, and the job lasts a long time.”

“It’s not all smooth sailing,” Unger said. “Caregivers’ issues are many and varied, and deal with emotions, finances, health and well being, role changes and time.”

Topics to cover include taking care of you; identifying and reducing personal stress; communicating feelings, needs and concerns; learning from our emotions; mastering caregiving decisions; learning tools to change what you can accept and what you can’t.

The class, to be held at United Way office in Killeen, will give the family caregiver tools to help reduce stress; communicate effectively with other family members, paid helpers and the doctor; reduce guilt, anger and depression; make tough decisions; set goals and problem solve.

Chronic Pain Self-Management Program will discuss appropriate use of medications; pacing activities and rest; dealing with frustration, stress and fatigues; learning to communicate with your family and health care team; setting goals.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is for those who struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The class will cover understanding the disease, selecting healthy foods, planning healthy menus, staying active, dealing with stress, delaying complications, learning to communicate with your family and health care team, and setting goals.

These classes offer very powerful tools for dealing with the day-to-day struggle that often impacts those who have chronic diseases such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, arthritis, diabetes and depression.

A camaraderie develops in the classes and the participants get to know each other and the coaches, said Susan Burchfield, Health and Wellness educator of the Area Agency on Aging.

“The classes are deliberately kept small, no more than 15, to keep it conversational rather than lecture-like,” she said.

Each program is offered in weekly classes, 2½ hours each week for six weeks. Times and dates will be announced at a later date.

Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas covers seven counties — Bell, Coryell, Lampasas, San Saba, Hamilton, Mills and Milam — and classes are held in all of them.

In 2017, five classes were held in Killeen, including courses on diabetes, chronic disease and fall prevention, Burchfield said.

“Killeen, if you can imagine, is a huge base for us,” she said.

Preregistration required

There is no charge. Space is limited and preregistration is requested.

Classes are open to the community with no age or income requirements.

To register, or for information, contact Burchfield at 254-770-2356 or susan.burchfield@ctcog.org.

For more on the agency, go to www.centexaaa.com.

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