In May we observe Older Americans Month – a time to honor our seniors and highlight the contributions they have made over the years. The theme for 2016 – Blaze a Trail – reminds us of the important role older adults continue to play in society, by volunteering at local non-profits, mentoring youth, caring for a grandchild, or engaging in new work or hobbies.

During this month, we have another reason to celebrate: the recent reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). This modernized legislation will help millions of seniors stay healthy and remain independent through the delivery of a wide range of social and nutrition services, including home-delivered meals, health promotion programs, job training and caregiver support.

During Older Americans Month, the REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) program would like to thank the older men and women throughout our nation who have made a positive impact on our society – and continue to inspire us in so many ways. We applaud caregivers who give their best to care for an older family member or loved one.

We also praise the reauthorization of the OAA, which will benefit not only older adults, but also their caregivers through respite care, support groups, counseling and more.

As the aging population grows, so will the need for comprehensive, evidence-supported respite care training. The REST program delivers this through several course options, all of which prepare individuals to feel confident in providing quality respite – or short breaks – to a caregiver, and ways to connect to care-receivers, according to research.

To learn how you can get involved by supporting caregivers in your community, we invite you to consider becoming a REST Companion™ or REST Trainer. Visit: www.restprogram.org or call Lois Sheaffer, REST program director, at 630-397-5655.