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Washington Hospital Offers Free Family Caregiver Education Series

Fremont Woman Learning New Strategies to Care for Her Aging Parents

Kathleen Enriquez is grateful for the day she learned about Washington Hospital’s Family Caregiver Education Series. The Fremont woman is caring for her aging parents as well as her cousin with lung cancer and she is feeling a bit overwhelmed. But the Caregiver Series is giving her hope. She is looking forward to learning new tools to help her cope with some of the challenges and provide the care she believes her family deserves.

“The first session about caring for the caregiver was great,” she said. “We learned ways to meditate and relax because taking care of a loved one can be difficult.”

The free series is for anyone caring for a friend or family member. The next session, titled “Advocacy for Caregivers,” is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18. It will focus on navigating the medical system and working with health care professionals.

Classes are held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West), in Fremont. The final three sessions are scheduled for August 25, September 1, and September 10. You can register online at or call 800.963.7070.

Enriquez worked in home health care many years ago and enjoyed caring for others. She said while it can be physically demanding, she likes taking care of people. But she said caring for family members is different. The parent-child relationship can sometimes make interactions difficult, she added.

“It’s been hard at times dealing with my parents,” she explained. “My dad has dementia and my mom is not physically able to care for him. She needs help now, too. It’s hard handling someone who used to be strong and always cared about his appearance, and now you can’t even get him to comb his hair. And I’m not sure how much longer my mom should be driving. I’m struggling with a lot of these day-to-day issues.”

Getting Through Each Day

That’s why Enriquez is looking forward to the third session, titled “Day to Day Aspects of Caregiving.” It will cover some of the issues that arise on a daily basis like managing medications and eating schedules, accomplishing the tasks of daily living like bathing and dressing, and when to stop some daily activities like driving. Family members don’t always agree on the care their loved one should be receiving, and Enriquez’s family is no different. Negotiating some of these differences can be tough for all families. The fourth session titled “Managing Family Dynamics” will tackle some of these hard family issues.

“I have some different views than my brother and sister, so it will be interesting to hear about that,” she said. “Family dynamics can be tough no matter how much you love each other.” Enriquez also has questions about some of the legal issues. The fifth session, titled “Legal and Financial Affairs,” is about handling legal and financial matters. This could include medical coverage, wills and trusts, and advance directives, which state a person’s wishes for medical care, including any life-sustaining treatments, and who will make care decisions for them if they aren’t able.

The final session will be a panel discussion that includes many of the expert presenters. Attendees like Enriquez will have the opportunity to get their questions answered and make sure they have all the tools they need to provide quality care for their loved ones.

“It’s important for me to be there for my family,” Enriquez concluded. “But I was feeling suffocated because I’m having a hard time dealing with my dad’s memory loss issues. I never did that type of care when I was in home health care. I want to learn as much about caring for a loved one as I can so I can be a better caregiver and still keep my sanity.”


The Family Caregiver Education Series will also air on InHealth, Washington Hospital’s cable access channel on Comcast 78. It airs a variety of health and wellness programs produced by Washington Hospital. InHealth can also be viewed online by clicking here.

For information about other programs and services at Washington Hospital that can help improve your health and well-being, click here.