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Editorials

Our View: REST at ease, caregivers

Consider the following sentence, which ran in a Kane County Chronicle story earlier this week:

“According to the Caregiver Action Network, more than 67 million people in the United States are currently providing care for a disabled parent, spouse or child at a minimum 20 hours a week, and – in most cases – without support.”

Maybe you are that person, the one who – on top of working full time or tackling other day-to-day tasks – spends hour upon hour caring for an elderly parent, spouse or special needs child.

If you are that person, you probably feel like you could use a break.

One organization looking to help provide that break is Marklund, a nonprofit group that serves people of all ages with developmental disabilities and special health care needs.

We commend Marklund for the work it is doing regarding respite care, in particular its taking the lead to develop the REST – Respite Education and Support Tools – training program, which provides a structured “Train-the-Trainer” course for individuals wishing to train volunteer respite workers within their own respective organization or network.

Respite care allows caregivers to take a break from caregiving. And the more people who are able to provide respite services, the better, especially considering the fact that, according to www.census.gov, the entire baby boomer population will be 65 years and older by 2029, accounting for more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population.

In Illinois, a program such as REST can be viewed as distinctly vital, as it helps provide a solution for respite-care demand in a state that is currently dealing with budget issues.

REST has grown to 139 REST trainers and 1,129 respite volunteers nationwide since its launch in 2013, and the REST team is setting goals to expand its presence for the next three years.

We applaud the group for the work it is doing and wish it success moving forward.

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