(Bloomingdale, IL) Eighty-five percent of all long term care services are provided by unpaid caregivers—and one fourth of those are family members.
The term "caregiver" refers to anyone who provides assistance to someone else who needs it. This person in need could be a husband who has Alzheimer's disease, a friend with cancer or a mother who has suffered a stroke. Family caregiving is very common, and often that caregiver is overlooked as someone who might need care too.
Providing a break—also called respite--to caregivers not only means giving them a chance to rest, or run out to do errands. It means helping out with the person who is being cared for in the first place. Finding a person who is qualified to take on such responsibilities as a volunteer can be extremely difficult. That’s where the REST program comes in.
REST, (Respite Education and Support Tools), a nonprofit program dedicated to training quality respite care trainers and volunteers, will host a two-day national training this fall in Bloomingdale. The originally designed interactive course will be held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 25 and 25, at the Chicago Hilton-Indian Lakes Resort.
This unique Train-the-Trainer program equips volunteers and professionals with the skills needed to support caregivers in their communities through respite. Respite care provided by volunteers has become a growing need throughout the country as family members need to provide round-the-clock care to loved ones and cannot always afford to hire professional assistance.
“The vision of this program is to create an international network of organizations that prepare individuals to support caregivers through respite,” explained Lois Sheaffer Kramer, REST Master Trainer. “The goal is to get as many people trained to provide this necessary services on a volunteer basis wherever it is needed.”
Standardizing the training for volunteer respite care workers will send a message to caregivers that they can feel confident in leaving their loved one with someone else – even for a short time – and not feel fearful or guilty about doing so. “Being a caregiver 24/7/365 is very stressful, even if you’re caring for someone you love. You need that break, but it has to feel right. And it has to be affordable,” said Jessica Hawk, a member of the Ohio State Respite Coalition who attended a national REST training in February.
Those who complete the REST training program will then be able to provide trainings on their own at faith communities, respite coalitions, community groups and other organizations who wish to create a corps of skilled volunteer respite care workers.
The cost for the training is $500, however discount/scholarship opportunities are available.
For information on REST, contact Lisa Esposito, REST Assistant, at email@example.com or 630-529-2871, ext. 3290, or visit www.restprogram.org.