Hundreds of family members caring for their loved ones across Houston are now better equipped to handle the stresses and challenges they may face as a family member care provider because of Dick Humphrey, 83, a resident of The Buckingham – Houston’s premier retirement community. For nearly 10 years, Humphrey has worked with The Buckingham to further the mission of Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing self-care education for family members who care for their loved ones. Humphrey’s efforts began not long after moving into The Buckingham, when he joined the Board of Directors of Interface Samaritan Counseling Centers, a nonprofit dealing with family issues, which was looking to broaden the range of programs they provided. It was after Humphrey came across an article discussing the lack of preparedness and help families across the country experience, that he realized how he could help to make a difference. With the assistance of Interface Samaritan, The Buckingham and the community’s nonprofit sponsor, Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), Humphrey initiated the first Texas master training session for Powerful Tools for Caregivers. Master trainers from the Powerful Tools headquarters in Portland, Oregon led a three day workshop for a class of 18 Houstonians who were interested in learning how to lead the program in their respective organizations. That training would lead to qualifying six of the original 18 participants as master trainers. Since the initial class in 2009, there have now been 18 more class leader trainings in Houston held at Interface Samaritan. Leading to the certification of over 200 additional class leaders.
“Most of my life I have been involved in community activities and I didn’t want that to change,” said Humphrey. “In an effort to stay active and engaged, I found out about Powerful Tools for Caregivers, and I felt that it would be helpful to residents here at The Buckingham and others in the surrounding community. Thanks to the continuing financial support of The Buckingham we have been able to have a significant impact on the community at large. The course has been taught in 30 locations across Houston, and there are over 250 class leaders across the state of Texas, making us third in the nation for Powerful Tools. Additionally, this training has been provided to over 100 residents and their families within The Buckingham alone. People are able to walk away feeling ready for the unknowns of the future and don’t feel the need to worry. Family member care providers come to us and say they feel confident in their ability to provide quality care as a result of taking better care of themselves.”
The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program is an evidence-based education program offering a unique combination of elements. The scripted curriculum and the intricately detailed training material guarantee its consistency and quality. The program encourages trainers and attendees to collaborate and share experiences. Throughout the class period, family member care providers are given the tools needed to reduce personal stress, communicate effectively, change self-perception, handle challenging situations, work through personal feelings and make decisions effectively. Additionally, the supportive environment helps to prevent feelings of inadequacy in difficult situations related to the unknowns of aging. According to Humphrey, this course provides invaluable knowledge for couples and families as they look ahead to the future. Once a participant has taken the class leader course they are then certified to lead the caregiving program within their sponsor organization in the local community, further widening the reach of the program.
“The partnership between Dick and The Buckingham to begin this program has been priceless,” said Pam Ortiz, director of resident services and lifestyles at The Buckingham. “This program provides an incredible benefit to our residents by giving them the ability to stay in control of their care and plan for the future. Additionally, we get to give back and share with the local community in a way that allows our neighbors to gain invaluable knowledge. We’re proud to help lead the way by preparing seniors and their families to deal with the unknowns of the future and giving them the tools they need to not feel stressed or worried if the times comes that they find themselves in the role of caregiver. This program is yet another extension of the Masterpiece Living® philosophy here at The Buckingham which endeavors to enhance all levels of living.”
Humphrey and Ortiz will soon speak on a panel at Masterpiece Living’s 2017 Lyceum, Aging Elevated: The Summit of Change. During the panel, they will discuss the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program and how it has impacted The Buckingham and the local community.
“We’re incredibly proud of Dick and what he has done not only for The Buckingham, but also the Houston community,” said Cathy Lightfoot, director of marketing at The Buckingham. “It’s residents like Dick that make The Buckingham special and truly make a difference in the lives of others. He saw a need and addressed it. As part of the Masterpiece Living philosophy, we coach and empower residents as they actively help the greater community through outreach. In addition, we offer support to family members and make physical adaptations to our environment in an effort to enhance all levels of living. Dick is a prime example of that philosophy, and we are honored to be a part of the difference he is making.”