MORRISTOWN, NJ  - "Stress-Busting for Family Caregivers", a unique 9-week program, is designed to help family caregivers manage their stress and cope better with their lives. The program will be offered by Morris County's Department of Human Services starting on September 19.

The program, which is free (donations accepted), is designed to improve the quality of life of family caregivers who provide care for persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, various types of dementia, and other chronic illnesses.

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During these weekly, 90-minute sessions, small groups of caregivers will learn new skills, stress management techniques, and information about illnesses and diseases that have impacted their loved ones. These sessions also will provide caregivers with an opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other. The program is conducted in a small group setting with two trained group facilitators. Participants are provided with many resources, including a handbook covering class material, a meditation CD, and a relaxation strategies DVD. Program handbooks for caregivers to participate in the program are available for purchase separately.

Morris County will offer the program at the Office of Temporary Assistance, (for GPS) 340 West Hanover Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960. Classes will run weekly from Sept. 19 through Nov. 14.

There will be morning and afternoon sessions available, at either 9:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be available during the program. To register by Sept. 12, contact Kim Cacciabeve at 973-829-8587 or

"There are so many people in Morris County who are dealing with the enormous stress of providing full-time care for their loved ones", said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who is liaison to county human services agencies. "This program is aimed at offering them some respite from that pressure and to offer techniques on how to deal with it going forward".

The Stress-Busting Program was developed by Dr. Sharon Lewis and the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. The SBP meets the federal Administration on Aging’s criteria for evidence-based programs.

Stress-Busting for Family Caregivers Program

  • Week 1 -  Getting Started: Group introductions, purpose, and expectations of program. Exercises include Relaxation and Breathing
  • Week 2 -  Stress: Effects on Mind, Body, and Spirit: Causes of stress, mind- body-spirit connections to stress. Exercises include Meditation
  • Week 3-  Caregiver Stress and Relaxation: Effects of stress, relaxation response, creating a relaxation environment. Exercises include Imagery
  • Week 4-  Facing Challenges: Understanding and managing difficult and challenging situations when caring for someone with dementia or a chronic illness. Exercises include Hand Massage
  • Week 5 - Grief, Loss, and Depression: Grieving process and losses related to caring for someone with dementia or a chronic illness. Exercises include Art
  • Week 6 - Coping with Stress: Discussion of changeable and unchangeable stressors. Changing roles and relationships. Use of coping strategies. Exercises include Aromatherapy
  • Week 7 - Positive Thinking: Changing the way one can think (cognitive restructuring) and how to view situations in a more positive framework. Twisted thinking is discussed. Exercises include Journaling
  • Week 8 - Taking Care of Yourself: Healthy Living: Integrating the strategies learned in earlier sessions to help develop a healthier lifestyle. Emphasis on incorporating good nutrition and sleep habits, exercise, and hobbies into daily routines. Exercises include Music
  • Week 9 - Choosing a Path to Wellness: Final integration of first 8 sessions and applying it so caregivers will be empowered to take care of themselves. Caregivers create a plan to do this and focus on healthy living. Discuss assertiveness skills.


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