Anyone interested in meeting a critical need by supporting family caregivers in their community can learn how to do so by attending one of two upcoming REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) Train-the-Trainer sessions, April 19-20 and May 17-18, at Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Drive, Carol Stream, Ill.

Those who complete the comprehensive two-day workshop can then train others to become REST Companions™ who can deliver care to care receivers while their caregivers take a break.
REST Companions provide a critical service: respite – or short-term temporary relief – for caregivers, allowing them to run errands, exercise, spend time with friends or simply grocery shop.

“REST Companions provide caregivers with peace of mind,” said Lois Sheaffer, REST program director. “After they learn about the comprehensive training REST Companions receive, caregivers feel comfortable leaving their loved ones with REST Companions who have been well trained.”

The REST Train-the-Trainer course uses an interactive format, allowing participants to gain a clearer understanding of the needs of both the caregiver and care receiver. REST uses a standardized curriculum aligned with the National Respite Guidelines, developed by the ARCH (Access to Respite Care and Help) National Resource Center. Training topics include: basic first aid tips, confidentiality, understanding disabilities across the lifespan, planning and adapting activities and establishing successful relationships with caregivers and care recipients.

Evidence supports the effectiveness of the REST program, with participants overwhelmingly responding that the training prepares them to feel confident in providing quality respite to families.
Today, more than 90 million individuals in the U.S. provide care for a family member or other loved one, and respite care is one of the most frequently requested support services for caregivers, according to Caregiver Action Network.

“Our REST Trainers find it extremely satisfying, knowing they are helping build a network of support for caregivers in their community,” Sheaffer said. “This means more and more caregivers can step away from their caregiving role to refresh and recharge. We welcome anyone interested in getting involved,” Sheaffer added. “A medical background or training experience is not necessary to become a REST Trainer.”

The REST Train-the-Trainer program can be customized to reflect an organization’s vision and needs. In addition, all REST training materials are available in English as well as in Spanish for bilingual trainers.

Both training sessions run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, and include lunch, refreshments and course materials. Those who complete the training course can receive 6.75 Continuing Education hours through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

For information on REST, contact Lisa Esposito, REST program coordinator, at 630-397-5656 or or visit

REST (Respite Education and Support Tools) is a nationally recognized program of Marklund, a nonprofit organization located in Geneva and Bloomingdale, Ill., that has been serving children and adults with serious and profound developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs since 1954. Launched in February 2013, REST has developed trainers and volunteers in 19 states and in Canada.