County offers caregiving course

Submitted by San Juan County

San Juan County and Northwest Regional Council are offering a free six-week course for unpaid family caregivers of San Juan County. This course, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, is an evidenced-based, self-care educational program for family caregivers. There will be in-person courses on Orcas and San Juan Islands and a virtual option for Lopez Island and other San Juan County residents who would like to participate.

The courses will be offered:

Orcas Island: Tuesdays 10 to 11:30 a.m. beginning Jan. 9 at the Orcas Senior Center (62 Henry Rd., Eastsound, WA 98245).

San Juan Island: Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning Feb. 1 at the Mullis Senior Center (589 Nash St., Friday Harbor, WA 98250).

Lopez Island and virtual: Wednesdays 10 to 11:30 a.m. beginning Feb. 14. The first meeting will be in person at Woodmen Hall (4102 Fisherman Bay Rd., Lopez Island, WA 9261) to meet instructors, but all following meetings will be on Zoom starting Feb. 28. If you are not able to attend the in-person course on another island, you can join the virtual course.

Caring for a family member or friend with a chronic condition can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an opportunity to develop a wealth of self-care tools including: reducing personal stress, changing negative self-talk, communicating your needs, dealing with challenging situations, making tough caregiving decisions, solving problems, and setting goals.

“There was a common bond,” said a Powerful Tools for Caregivers class participant. “We were all dealing with some of the same issues. We shared our stories and learned ways to cope. I learned that it was important to take care of me.”

For more information about this free course or to sign up, please contact:

Orcas Island: Heidi Bruce, Aging and Family Case Coordinator, at 360-370-0591 or

San Juan Island: Tyler Cornell, Aging and Family Case Coordinator, at 360-370-7561 or

Lopez Island and virtual: Roni Becker-Wilkie, Senior Services Specialist, at 360-468-2421 or

This current class series will be taught in English. Spanish language speakers are encouraged to contact Heidi Bruce at 360-370-0591 or for multi-lingual support for unpaid family caregivers.