State Legislation, Policy & Reports
Arkansas: AARP Study Shows Residents Prefer to Receive Long-Term Care Services from Family and Friends
The results of an AARP survey of Arkansas residents age 40 and over revealed that nearly all (98%) respondents believe it is important to have long-term care (LTC) services that would enable them or a family member to stay at home, and out of institutional care, as long as possible. In addition, 76 percent of those surveyed want to receive LTC services at home from family and friends, or a personal care aide when needed. The survey was a response to a proposal to create the Arkansas Options Counseling for Long-Term Care Program, which would inform people seeking LTC services about all the care options offered in their areas. For more information, visit:
Connecticut: Bill Would Increase Benefits to Grandparent Caregivers
On January 16, 2007, Connecticut Representative Demetrios S. Giannaros introduced a bill (H.B. 5442) to increase the amount of temporary family assistance benefits available to grandparents and other relative caregivers. The bill would allow those family caregivers who meet income eligibility criteria to receive the same benefit granted to relative caregivers under the Department of Children and Families' guardianship program. For more information, visit:
Illinois: Bill Would Expand Family Leave to More Family Caregivers
On January 23, 2007, Illinois Representative Jack Franks introduced a bill (H.B. 374) to expand family and medical leave benefits - twelve weeks of unpaid leave a year - to a worker who cares for a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, or mother-in-law with a serious health condition. Currently, the law only applies to those caring for a spouse, child or parent. The bill would allow intermittent leave from work to care for a relative other than a new child. For more information, visit:
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
Department of Labor Requests Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act
On December 1, 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Request for Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law which guarantees many workers unpaid time off to care for a new child or to care for a sick family member. As stated in the Federal Register, "the Department invites interested parties having knowledge of, or experience with, the FMLA to submit comments and welcomes any pertinent information that will provide a basis for ascertaining the effectiveness of the current implementing regulations." The FMLA is critical to helping thousands of caregivers take the necessary time off to care for loved ones. The deadline for submitting comments has been extended to February 16, 2007. For more information, visit:
Australia: Number of Australians with Dementia Expected to Double in 20 Years, More Families and Caregivers Will Feel the Impact
Research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that the number of Australians living with dementia will more than double in the next 20 years. The Institute's report indicates that this dramatic increase in dementia patients will pose challenges for more families - many of whom will take on caregiving roles - as well as in the health care sector and aging services. For more information, visit:
Canada: Newspaper Reports on the Challenges of the Sandwich Generation
Paul Irish wrote a story for the Toronto Star on January 18, 2007 which discussed the challenges many baby boomers face when caring for their elderly parents and their children, as well as maintaining careers. He reported that a growing number of for-profit, Toronto-based businesses are responding to the boomers' need for help by providing care management services and consultations for families trying to determine how to provide the right kind of care for their family members. For more information, visit:
United Kingdom: Smart Technology Could Allow Dementia Patients to Live Alone
A home that uses the latest smart technology to give people with dementia and other serious long-term health conditions greater independence was showcased in the United Kingdom on January 25, 2007. The technology, which has been developed by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME) at the University of Bath, is designed to help people with dementia or other chronic health conditions who would otherwise need a caregiver present, to live at home and have some independence. The technology tracks individuals' actions in the home and can send signals to devices such as the stove or light switches, causing them to turn on or off, as well as prompt a recording of a voice telling the individual how to act in a safe manner. For more information, visit:
University of Bath
Research Reports & Journal Articles
Survey Shows Growing Crisis in Long-Term Care Services for Older Persons with Disabilities and Calls for More Family-Centered Policies
In December 2006, the AARP Public Policy Institute released the results of a follow-up survey of adults 50 years and older with disabilities. "A Growing Crisis in Health and Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Persons with Disabilities: Changes from 2002-2005" reports that "quality of life and health and long-term supportive services remained constant or worsened between 2002 and 2005" and that cost prohibited many people from receiving the help they need to carry out their daily activities. Specifically, among those who received regular help with everyday activities, about 75% received unpaid help from family members. Preferences for help from family and friends were even stronger in 2005 than in 2002 (57% vs. 47%), while preferences for in-home care provided by agency workers declined. The report concludes that family support remains the mainstay and calls for more family-centered policies. For more information, visit:
AARP Public Policy Institute
The Role of the Family and Medical Leave Act in Long-Term Care Policy
Dr. Steven Wisensale wrote a commentary in a recent issue of the Journal of Aging and Social Policy (Vol. 18, No. 3/4) called "What Role for the Family and Medical Leave Act in Long-Term Care Policy?" He described how the law's original intent in 1993 was to have an intergenerational structure, "permitting employees to take time off from work to care for an infant as well as an ill elderly parent." However, he points out that, as states work to build on that law and provide workers with paid family leave, the important intergenerational component often gets lost. The majority of family leave bills introduced in the states focus on leave for new parents and leave out workers who provide care for elderly relatives with long-term care needs. For more information, visit:
Journal of Aging and Social Policy
Behavioral Intervention Decreases Alzheimer's Caregivers' Distress, But Not Burden
The December 2006 issue (Volume 46, Number 6) of The Gerontologist published the results of a study on caregivers in an article by Dr. Judith Gonyea and her colleagues, "Project CARE: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Behavioral Intervention Group for Alzheimer's Disease Caregivers." The study tested the effectiveness of an intervention designed to reduce distress and burden in caregivers caring for people with neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. The intervention provided caregivers five weekly sessions designed to teach them techniques for managing their loved ones' symptoms and behavior. Caregivers who received the intervention displayed significantly greater reductions in caregiver distress compared to those who didn't receive the intervention, but no decrease in caregiver burden. For more information, visit:
Conferences & Trainings
Register Now! Space is Limited for National Conference on Caregiving
FCA's National Center on Caregiving, in partnership with the American Society on Aging, is presenting a one-day preconference special program "Family Caregiving: State of the Art, Future Trends," at the 2007 Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging (ASA) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) in Chicago. The special program will be held on Tuesday, March 6 from 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. It will bring together experts from practice, policy and research arenas to discuss cutting edge research, effective service interventions, and trends that will profoundly affect family caregivers. The Joint Conference will be held March 7-10. For preconference speakers, program details and information on registration, visit:
Family Caregiver Alliance
Call for Abstracts - 2007 Minority Women's Health Summit
The Office of Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is calling for abstracts for its 2007 Minority Women's Health Summit. The deadline for submission is February 9, 2007. The Summit will be held August 23-26 in Washington, D.C. The theme for the conference is "Women of Color: Addressing Disparities, Affirming Resilience, and Developing Strategies for Success." For more information, visit:
Office of Women's Health
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
Call for In-Home Caregiver Training Programs
The Caregiving Project for Older Americans is calling for in-home caregiver training curricula, particularly those that focus on providing care for older adults. The Project's goal is to identify best practices to share with home care agencies, caregivers, researchers, and other stakeholders who influence policy and practices in home care. The Caregiving Project is a multi-year, joint effort of the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education and the International Longevity Center to work toward developing solutions to the growing caregiving crisis in the United States. The deadline for submission is February 28, 2007. For more information, contact Valerie Alsbrook at the Schmieding Center at [email protected]
Washington Post Reports on "The Rewards and Demands of Caring for an Aging Parent"
An article by Karen Pallarito in the Washington Post on January 21, 2007 highlighted the growing number of family caregivers, particularly those looking after elderly parents, and the challenges they face trying to find resources and assistance. Pallarito's article described how caregiving can take a toll on caregivers' health and finances. For more information, visit:
NORC - Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities - Programs Help Seniors Stay at Home
Martha Moore wrote a story for USA Today on January 17, 2007 about programs that provide services to seniors living in NORCs, or naturally occurring retirement communities, which are neighborhoods where at least 40% of the residents are older than 60 years. Programs in various communities provide services that allow elderly residents to remain living at home and in the community, including transportation services, temporary caregiver services, and access to existing programs offering respite care for family caregivers, home-delivered meals, and home health aides. Many programs are offered by nonprofit social service organizations, with help from the government. While New York is the only state that designates NORCs and provides state funding, federal funding for NORC programs was authorized by Congress in the Older Americans Act in 2006. That funding has yet to be appropriated. For more information, visit:
"Sick Tending the Sick"
Michael Vitez wrote a story for the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 29, 2007 about the challenges of being a family caregiver - including the negative impact it can have on the caregiver's own health - and the inadequate system of support in place for family caregivers. The article highlights the gaps in caregiver support services, such as the lack of transportation services, limited respite care options, and a cumbersome health care system that makes caregivers' jobs more difficult. These issues are revealed through the personal story of a Philadelphia woman in her 60's who is struggling to care for her husband, a stroke victim, and who suffers from her own health problems that are exacerbated by her caregiving role. For more information, visit:
©2007 Family Caregiver Alliance. All rights reserved.
The National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance works to advance the development of high-quality and cost-effective policies and programs for caregivers in every state in the country. The National Center is a central source of information and technical assistance on family caregiving for policymakers, health and service providers, program developers, funders, media and families. For questions or further information about the National Center on Caregiving, contact [email protected] or visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website at www.caregiver.org.
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