State Legislation, Policy & Reports
California: Bill Introduced to Expand Paid Family Leave to More Family Members, Report Released on Workers Using Paid Family Leave
On February 23, 2007, California Senator Sheila Kuehl introduced a bill (S.B. 727) which would expand eligibility for the state's Paid Family Leave law to include workers who provide care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, parent-in-law, or sibling. Currently, workers are allowed to take up to six weeks off and be paid about 55% of their wages to care only for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. On February 26, the California Senate Office of Research released a report called "Balancing Work and Family," which was requested by Senator Kuehl, on the use of Paid Family Leave. It found that over 400,000 Californians have benefited from the program, 10% of the claims were for family caregiving and 90% were for bonding with a new child, and about 80% of beneficiaries were women. Siblings, grandparents and in-laws needing to provide care accounted for the largest number of claims denied. For more information, visit:
California Senate Office of Research
Minnesota: Boomers Want to Remain at Home and Have More Community Services as They Age
A survey of Minnesota adults between 42 and 60 years old, which was released on February 20, 2007, found that 90% of those surveyed would prefer to grow old in their own homes rather than rental apartments or nursing homes. Most of the respondents also said they would pay more for a long-term care system with better community services. The survey was conducted by Ecumen, a company that provides nursing homes and community services for the elderly, and it did not address whether baby boomers' adult children would be willing to provide care for their aging parents if they remained at home. For more information, visit:
Missouri: House Approves Bill with Incentives for Long-Term Care Insurance
On February 26, 2007, the Missouri House of Representatives approved a bill (H.B.40), the Missouri Long-Term Care Partnership Act, which would offer additional incentives to consumers to purchase long-term care (LTC) insurance, including raising the income tax deduction from 50% of an annual premium for policy to 100% of the premium. The bill also states that the amount the LTC policy pays out for a person's care should be deducted when calculating that individual's total assets in determining his or her eligibility for Medicaid. The House approved a similar bill last year, but it was not passed by the Senate. For more information, visit:
Missouri General Assembly
St. Louis Post Dispatch
Updated: Federal and State Caregiving Legislation on FCA's Website
FCA's National Center on Caregiving has updated its online database of legislation to include all federal and state legislation related to family caregiving introduced between 2004 and 2006. Bills can be searched by state or according to the policy strategy used to support family caregivers, such as tax incentives, Medicaid policies, and respite assistance. Over 100 bills with provisions to help family caregivers were introduced at the federal and state levels in the last three years. Five of the 26 federal bills introduced in the 109th Congress (2005-2006) were enacted into law. Out of the 32 states that introduced 78 caregiving bills between 2004 and 2006, one out of four states (13) enacted 16 bills into law. For more information, visit:
Family Caregiver Alliance
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
President Signs FY 2007 Appropriations Bill, Including Funding for Older Americans Act
On February 15, 2007, President Bush signed an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 (H.J. Res. 20) which, among other things, includes funding for the Older Americans Act. The bill maintains FY 2006 funding levels into FY 2007 for the majority of programs, allowing agencies some flexibility to alter program amounts from FY 2006. That includes the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), which was funded at $156 million in FY 2006. Agencies must report any budget changes to Congress by mid-March. The bill does specify funding amount for selected programs, including three Older Americans Act programs that received funding increases: home-delivered meals, congregate meals, and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). For more information, visit:
Congressional Research Service Issues Report on Funding for the Older Americans Act, Including the National Family Caregiver Support Program
The impartial Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report on February 15, 2007 called "Older Americans Act: FY2006 Funding, FY2007 Proposals, and FY2008 Budget Request." The report compares the FY 2006 Congressional appropriations levels to President Bush's budget request for FY 2008, highlighting Title III - Grants for State and Community Programs on Aging, Title IV - Activities for Health, Independence and Longevity, Title V - Community Services Senior Opportunities Act, Title VII - Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Activities, and Alzheimer's Disease Demonstration Grants. For more information, visit:
Ghana: "Urbanization Weakens Traditional Family Care for Elderly"
As more young adults move out of rural areas and into cities to find jobs, the traditional family care system in Ghana is changing. Unlike past generations, in which adults lived with and cared for their older relatives, today many older people in Ghana are left alone with no one to care for them and a weak public support system. Professor Chuks Mba of the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana said a lack of adequate social protection and health care have made life even harder for older adults in Ghana, many of whom spend their final years living in poverty. For more information, visit:
Voice of America
United Kingdom: "Carers 'Losing Out' As Wages Rise"
When the UK's minimum wage increased last October, many low-income family caregivers who were receiving a publicly-funded Carers' Allowance became ineligible for the benefit because they were suddenly earning too much income. This has created a catch-22 situation because if those caregivers slightly decrease their working hours in order to fall back under the income limit, they lose out on a valuable income tax credit. This has created a hardship for many caregivers who had already been living month to month on a tight budget that relied on income from part-time work and the Carers' Allowance. While the income threshold for the Allowance will increase in April 2007, allowing many caregivers to once again become eligible, the minimum wage will increase again in October 2007, knocking them back out of eligibility. For more information, visit:
Research Reports & Journal Articles
Study Examines Factors That Cause Stress in Spousal and Adult Child Caregivers
The Journal of Gerontological Social Work (Volume 47, Number 1/2) published "Predictors of Emotional Strain Among Spouse and Adult Child Caregivers" by Dr. Suk-Young Kang. The study examines factors that cause stress and emotional strain for those caring for an elderly parent versus those caring for a spouse. The study found that both groups of caregivers were affected by the elder's disruptive behaviors, the caregiver's perceived overload, family disagreement, and limitations on the caregiver's life. There were differences in levels of stress among adult child caregivers based on race and the availability of respite assistance. For more information, visit:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work
Conferences & Trainings
Institute for Family-Centered Care Training Seminar Slated for April 23-26, 2007
Institute for Family-Centered Care is sponsoring a seminar called "Hospitals Moving Forward with Patient- and Family-Centered Care: An Intensive Training Seminar Enhancing Quality and Safety for Patients and Their Families." It will be held in Portland, Maine from April 23-26, 2007. It will include sessions that focus on the collaboration and participation of families in caring for patients. For more information, visit:
Institute for Family-Centered Care
American Geriatrics Society's 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting on May 2-6, 2007
The American Geriatrics Society will be holding its Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington from May 2-6, 2007. Register by March 23rd to receive discounted rates. There will be opportunities to meet experts in the field and to attend sessions that focus on home care medicine. For more information, visit:
American Geriatrics Society
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
Brain Injury Association of America and Bob Woodruff Partner to Raise Awareness of Brain Injury
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has partnered with ABC Anchor Bob Woodruff and his family to raise awareness of brain injury and to administer the newly created Bob Woodruff Family Fund for TBI to assist members of the armed services and their families affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Fund will award grants to nonprofit organizations serving members of the military who have sustained a TBI. In some circumstances, funds may be used to provide direct financial assistance to military personnel and their families and/or to provide grants for medical research, public education, awareness and prevention of TBI. Throughout March, Woodruff will file a series of reports for World News, Good Morning America and Nightline covering various aspects of brain injury. For more information, visit:
MetLife Mature Market Institute Releases 2007 Resource Guide for Caregivers
MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, in cooperation with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), recently released an updated brochure for 2007 called "Resources for Caregivers." It includes caregiver services and support, including books, internet sites, and organizations; financial and legal resources; disease-specific resources; information about end-of-life care; and government resources. For more information, visit:
MetLife Mature Market Institute
Columnist Encourages Healthy Adults to Build Team of Caregivers to Call Upon in the Future
On February 19, 2007, Seattle Times columnist Liz Taylor wrote about preparing for older age and planning how you wish to receive care, should you need it. In the article, "Build your safety circle now, before you need it," she encourages healthy adults to start talking with family and friends about how they wish to be taken care of later in life, once they become sick or frail. She said these people can create a team of loved ones who will understand your wishes and become your advocates and caregivers. 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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