Respite Opportunities


In partnership with James Madison University, VPAS matches pairs of students with families that are caring for a frail older adult through the Caregivers Community Network (CCN) course.  Enrolled students provide weekly visits to provide social interaction with the care recipient while the caregiver takes a much needed break. 


In-home family caregivers are referred to CCN by health care providers, other community agencies, VPAS Case Managers, or through self referral.  Prospective host families will receive a home visit with the CCN Coordinator.  During this visit families will be assessed for eligibility for the program.  If eligible, an interest profile of the care recipient will be completed and a student match will be made.  Prior to making in-home visits JMU students must complete training on how to interact with older adults, particularly those who are frail and who have cognitive impairment.  Students visit the home weekly throughout the semester.  Visits last 2-3 hours.
CCN offers respite to caregivers of those 60 years old and older who live in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. You may return the family application to Kathy Guisewite via e-mail at or you may mail it to her at:  975 South High Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Once the application is received, it will be reviewed and then Kathy will be in touch to set up a visit with the caregiver and the care receiver.  At that point, it will be determined if CCN is able to serve the family.  At the start of each semester, a team of two students are assigned to the family, and families are given the student names and contact information.

UPDATE: This fall, in an effort to keep everyone safe during COVID days, JMU students will be participating in CCN virtually.  As the focus of CCN has always been to offer respite to caregivers, we will be addressing this in new and meaningful ways beginning in September.  Online visits with students will be for both the caregiver and the care receiver.  Together, they will socialize with the students and engage in self care activities that the students plan.   It is a wonderful opportunity to break the social isolation, to build new relationships, and recharge family dynamics.  As this is a virtual experience, we welcome families from across the state to apply for this experience.  Contact Kathy Guisewite.