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Caregiver Communication Skills: A Voice for Change

Mary Brintnall-Peterson, Ph.D.
Owner, MBP Consulting, LLC
Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Partnering with:
Rachel Brauner
Extension Associate
Wounded Warrior Program
Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service

Caregivers communicate with their care receiver, family members, and health care professionals throughout their caregiver journey. Sometimes conversations go awry resulting in misunderstandings which can lead to heated and emotional exchanges, hurt feelings and even relationship problems.

Learning and practicing how to use the communication skills of “I messages”, Assertive and Aikido will help caregivers change the way they have communicated in the past. By gaining this new knowledge they can prepare for difficult conversations they have been avoiding or putting off.

Program Objectives:

After this program, participants will be able to:
•Distinguish the differences between the communication skills of “I messages”, Assertive, and Aikido and the types of situations they are best used in.
•Identify caregiver situations in their life where one of the communication skills could be used.
•Prepare to use one of the communication skills in a conversation they need or want to have in the near future.

Handouts and other materials associated with this session may be downloaded from


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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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