The Granite Falls Living At Home/Block Nurse program is gearing up for a new round of caregiver classes. The class, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, is a six-week series starting Thursday, October 26 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. at the Granite Falls Senior Center.

The class is designed for family caregivers to enable them to better care for themselves while caring for an older relative or friend. The class accommodates caregivers in a variety of different situations, and is also open to those who do not currently use Living At Home/Block Nurse Program services.

Participants will learn ways to reduce stress and effectively communicate with other family members, medical staff, and paid help. Specifically, the program is designed to help caregivers minimize common emotional problems associated with caregiving, such as guilt, anger, and depression. Classes will also teach participants how to problem solve and make tough decisions.

The Powerful Tools class is part of a state-supported evidence-based training. The At Home/Block Nurse Program Director Mary Ims received the evidence-based training from the state of Minnesota, and now teaches the class to others here in Granite Falls. “The whole concept of the class is how to take care of yourself,” she explained.

Ims also stated that the class is open to “any caregiver under any circumstance,” though she often works with caregivers helping loved ones suffering from Alzheimers, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases. She explained that the class is really about helping caregivers develop greater confidence. “We give them the techniques and tools to be more confident in what they do,” Ims said.

Caregivers agree that boosting self-esteem is a critical outcome that greatly improves their ability to take care of loved ones. “After taking this class, I am a more confident caregiver!” local resident Peggy (whose mother has Alzheimer’s disease). “Having tools to resolve problems is a definite advantage in becoming a better caregiver and a happier, wiser, healthier me,” she said.

The Living At Home/Block Nurse Program will also offer their Respite Care Training for volunteer and professional care workers. The next class is scheduled for Tuesday, November 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Hospital Professional Building. For more information about either class, please contact Mary Ims at 320-564-3235, or email