We have met so many inspiring people who are doing amazing things across the county, since we launched the REST program in February 2013. They include professionals, caregivers (past and present) and volunteers who have a passion for increasing community resources, so individuals who are aging, or who have healthcare needs, can remain in their homes.
Over the past four years, it has been especially gratifying to see the REST program expand. Aging organizations, social service agencies, faith-based communities, universities and other groups have used the REST program to train Trainers and Companions – and, ultimately, build networks of support for caregivers in their communities.
To date, we have more than 300 REST Trainers and more than 4,000 REST Companions in 25 states. In addition, we now have seven REST Master Trainers, and we look forward to seeing that number increase to 12 in March.
Accomplishments include positive feedback from trainers, professors, teachers, healthcare professionals and others who tell us how easy the program is to follow. It is refreshing to know that the REST program is so well respected across the nation!
Our other accomplishments include:
Creating a Spanish-language curriculum so bilingual learners can become REST Trainers and REST Companions.
Offering a REST Essentials online course, providing the opportunity for more people to learn the core competencies of respite, and how to provide respite care in a supervised setting.
Becoming an evidence-supported training program. We continue to conduct research and collect data to show the positive effects respite has on caregivers. We have had the privilege of presenting our research findings at national conferences over the years.
As we celebrate our 4th anniversary, we want to say a big Thank you to the Marklund board of directors for expanding our mission, and to state leaders who know that respite is vital to our nation’s caregivers. The commitment of funding and training for both paid and unpaid respite workers increases a sustainable network of support for caregivers.