State earns national award for caregiver support training program

Published Nov 26, 2017 at 9:00am

New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen announced that New York has received the 2017 Respite Education and Supports Tools (REST) Vision Award, which is given to the state that has trained the highest number of individuals or organizations to provide critical respite support for caregivers.

The award was presented recently at the National Lifespan Respite Conference held in Huntsville, Ala.

“This REST Vision Award serves as yet another example of Governor Cuomo’s strong commitment to older New Yorkers and their families, and is an important component in making New York the first age-friendly state in the nation,” said Olsen.

“There are four million caregivers across New York who provide more than 2.6 billion hours of hands on daily care to loved ones at any given time each year,” Olsen added.

“Respite gives caregivers much needed temporary relief from the daily routine and stress that can come with providing care, and allows them to focus on their own health and wellbeing,” the acting director said.

New York has led a multi-strategy approach to assisting families and caregivers by supporting respite through expansion of the REST program, state officials said.

The state has also provided more than $25 million dollars in funding toward care and support services for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and their caregivers, Olsen said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which requires hospitals to allow patients to formally designate a caregiver and also educate and support caregivers to provide post-discharge care at home, and Paid Family Leave, which begins Jan. 1.

When fully implemented, it will be the longest and most comprehensive paid family leave in the nation, officials say.

The state Office for the Aging began funding REST respite training through a federal Lifespan Respite Grant. NYSOFA has also committed its own resources to significantly build capacity and expand respite options statewide.

Through NYSOFA’s ongoing leadership and funding, New York continues to strive to create a comprehensive network of REST organizations that prepare individuals to support caregivers through respite, officials added.

About the Respite Education and Support Tools (REST) Program

REST is an educational program that helps create a network of individuals who are trained in providing quality, compassionate respite care. REST’s professionally designed Train-the-Trainer course provides respite education to those who then train others to be REST Companion also known as respite care workers or providers, according tp state officials.

The Train-the-Trainer course is an intensive, interactive two-day program that provides new trainers with materials they need to conduct their own trainings.

Representatives from senior services and health care organizations, area agencies on aging, faith-based organizations, adult day care, or other social service organizations are eligible to receive this training and then share this information among their own communities.