Respite Care Benefits Students and Caregivers

Posted by on July 22, 2011

Rochester medical assistant students gain experience in elder car

Jodi Kaseno’s medical assistant students engaged in a win-win endeavor by volunteering as respite care providers for family members of dementia patients. The students gained valuable experience weorking with the elderly, and the caregivers received a much-deserved break.

The Minnesota School of Business-Rochester students, enrolled in their Certified Medical Assistant review class preceding their certification exam, teamed up with Elder Network in Rochester, Minn. Elder Network provides the support needed so that seniors can stay in their own homes. In addition to caregiver respite, Elder Network’s programs include peer support, friendly visiting and transportation assistance.

Students sharpened their patient care skills while working with the seniors, and perhaps more importantly, they were able to provide relief to family caregivers who are on duty 24/7. Caring for elderly family members, particularly if they exhibit dementia, can be an exhausting and stressful proposition. There is a high risk of burnout as caregivers often have jobs of their own and other family members to care for.

Kaseno recognizes the value of the respite care experience for students in preparing them for the working world. “Some of them were working with the elderly for the first time,” she said. “[They] learn to socialize with them and [recognize] the different issues working with the elderly.”

Some of the students elected to continue their association with Elder Network even after their class requirement was fulfilled. Said student James Alvera, “I enjoy listening to older adults; they have so much knowledge and experience to share.”


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