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Powerful Tools for Caregivers


Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) is an evidence-based, self-care education program for family caregivers. Originally developed caregivers of adults with chronic conditions, Powerful Tools for Caregivers has expanded the program to include classes for parents of children with special needs. This is not a support group but rather a 6-week education program where focus is on the caregiver and developing skills and knowledge for self-care.

NDSU Extension began the PTC program in May 2013. Today there are 35+ trained Class Leaders offering workshops to family caregivers across the state.


Find a Class

NDSU Extension is a part of the North Dakota Community Clinical Collaborative. You will be sent to for class registration. To find a class search for "Powerful Tools for Caregivers" on the NDC3 website. 

Class Leader Training Opportunities

Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) Class Leader Training is for those who want to co-lead the dynamic workshop for family caregivers.  If you want to begin or expand the program in the community or county you serve, now is the time! The integrated training will equip class leaders to co-lead programs for two target audiences: caregivers of adults with chronic conditions and caregivers of children with special health and behavioral needs.

Remote video URL

What are the “tools” learned in the PTC Classes?

In the six weekly classes, caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools to: reduce personal stress; change negative self-talk; communicate their needs to family members and healthcare or service providers; communicate more effectively in challenging situations; recognize the messages in their emotions, deal with difficult feelings; and make tough caregiving decisions.

Why is PTC needed by caregivers?

Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems. Caregivers frequently cite restriction of personal activities and social life as problems. They often feel they have no control over events, and that feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health.

How does PTC benefit caregivers?

The program has been shown to have a positive impact on caregiver health for a diverse group of caregivers including rural, ethnic minorities, adult children of aging parents, well-spouses/partners, and caregivers of children with special needs. Data from class participant evaluations indicates the PTC program improves:

  • Self-Care Behaviors: (increased exercise, use of relaxation techniques and medical check ups.)
  • Management of Emotions: (reduced guilt, anger, and depression.)
  • Self-efficacy (increased confidence in coping with caregiving demands.)
  • Use of Community Resources: (increased utilization of community services.)
What is covered in the PTC classes?

Contact Info


Jane Strommen, Ph.D.
Gerontology Specialist
NDSU Extension Human Development & Family Science
E. Morrow Lebedeff Hall 255 D
Dept 7260, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND  58108-6050