State Legislation, Policy & Reports
Texas: New Law Will Help Find Missing Adults with Dementia
On September 1, 2007, a new law (S.B. 1315) will go into effect in Texas creating a Silver Alert system, similar to Amber Alert, to notify police, the media and the public when seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia go missing. Under current law, authorities do not begin searching for missing adults until they have been gone for 72 hours. The new law sets out provisions relating to notification about a missing senior citizen and the activation, content, and termination of the silver alert. The bill was signed into law on May 11, 2007. For more information, visit:
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
Bipartisan Bill Promotes Long-Term Care Insurance
On August 3, 2007, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), introduced the Long-Term Care Affordability and Security Act (H.R. 3363). The bill would permit long-term care insurance to be included in employer-sponsored cafeteria plans and flexible spending accounts, allowing people to pay for long-term care insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars. The bill would also provide additional consumer protections for long-term care insurance. For more information, visit:
Department of Labor Releases Report on Family and Medical Leave Act
In response to its Request for Information in December 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor released a report on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in June 2007 which describes "the feedback about the FMLA and the Department's implementation of it as raised in the comments from employees and employers." The report states that FMLA is generally working well for family caregivers, but that many of the submitted comments argue for FMLA to be expanded to provide paid leave or to cover the care of more family members. The report examines various issues related to employees' use of FMLA to care for ill family members. For more information, visit:
U.S. Department of Labor
Department of Homeland Security Releases Emergency Preparedness Materials for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign has released three new demonstration videos designed to highlight the specific steps older adults, adults with disabilities and special needs, and pet owners should take to prepare for emergencies. Family caregivers and other direct care providers working with these populations should help them prepare an emergency supply kit and create a family emergency plan, considering the unique needs of these individuals, their families and caregivers. The new videos are released in time for National Preparedness Month 2007, a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies. For more information, visit:
The Ready Campaign
United Kingdom: Number of Adults with Dementia Rising Rapidly
The Cambridge Evening News recently reported that new research from the London School of Economics and King's College London indicates that the number of people with dementia in Cambridgeshire, a county in England with approximately 750,000 people, is expected to rise by 55% - to 9,225 people - by 2012. The Alzheimer's Research Trust is fighting the government's plan to decrease dementia research funding in the coming years. The article also noted that "in the UK as a whole, an estimated 700,000 people have dementia - a number predicted to double within a generation." For more information, visit:
Cambridge Evening News
Research Reports & Journal Articles
"A Comparison of Working Versus Nonworking Family Caregivers of Stroke Survivors"
An article published in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing (Volume 39, Number 4) compared characteristics of working and nonworking caregivers, including physical health, depression, fatigue, family functioning and family conflict, and examined how caregiving affects employment. The article, "A Comparison of Working Versus Nonworking Family Caregivers of Stroke Survivors" by Jean Ko, Dawn Aycock and Patricia Clark, revealed that more than one in three (36%) caregivers reduced their work hours, resigned or retired from their jobs to care for a family member who had suffered from a stroke three to nine months prior. White caregivers were less likely than minority caregivers to be employed, while caregivers who were employed full-time tended to be younger and in better physical health, but at higher risk for depressive symptoms, than nonworking caregivers. For more information, visit:
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
Journal Examines Benefits of Caregiving
Two articles in the July-September 2007 issue of Alzheimer's Care Today (Volume 8, Issue 3) focus less on the burden of family caregiving, and instead examine the benefits of providing care. In "Health Effects of Caregiving," Dr. Stephanie Brown highlights the need for research that considers the psychosocial factors inherent in caregiving and the possibility that there are health benefits associated with helping others, especially when the caregiver and care receiver share a close relationship. In "Stumbling on Joy," Dr. Stephen Post argues that "caregiving is often a joyful and beneficial experience for the one who gives," especially "when provided with proper respite and support." For more information, visit:
Alzheimer's Care Today
Conferences & Trainings
CMS Presents Satellite Broadcast on Caregiving Across the Lifespan September 19
On September 19, 2007, the New Freedom Initiative (NFI) Subcommittee on Caregiving will present a satellite broadcast, "Supporting Caregivers Across the Lifespan," to raise awareness of the programs and services the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers family caregivers across the lifespan. The New Freedom Initiative is a government-wide initiative, headed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The broadcast will feature a panel of government officials discussing their programs and ways to improve service delivery for caregiving families. The broadcast will be held from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), and registration is free. For more information, visit:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting November 16-20
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) will hold its 60th Annual Scientific Meeting on November 16-20, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The theme of this year's meeting, which will bring together researchers, educators and practitioners in aging, is the "Era of Global Aging: Challenges and Opportunities." Registration for the event will be available starting August 27, 2007. For more information, visit:
Gerontological Society of America
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
"Training Helps Alzheimer's Caregivers"
Associated Press reporter Lauran Neergaard's story about the value of specialized training for family members caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease appeared in Newsday and other publications on August 13, 2007. Referring to research conducted by Mary Mittlelman of New York University's School of Medicine, Neergaard reported that such training eases a caregiver's burden and delays Alzheimer's patients' entry into nursing homes. Unfortunately, it is often difficult for caregivers to find specialized training or to leave their family member in order to attend the training sessions. Policymakers and advocates are working to expand training opportunities, financial assistance and respite for dementia caregivers so they can receive caregiver training and the benefits that go along with it. For more information, visit:
Strength for Caring Website Offers New Material
Strength for Caring, an online resource for family caregivers sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, has added new sections to its website. One new section focuses on caring for loved ones with specific health conditions, including cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. The website also has new multicultural information on topics such as how to find a doctor who speaks Spanish, how to make ethnic food healthier and how to find faith-based caregiving resources. Information from Family Caregiver Alliance is also included on the site. For more information, visit:
Strength for Caring
"A Grass-Roots Effort to Grow Old at Home"
New York Times reporter Jane Gross wrote a story on August 14, 2007 about organizing efforts going on in communities around the country by older adults who need limited help to remain living at home. Groups of older adults living in the same community are forming nonprofit organizations that require membership dues and, in return, "line up providers of transportation, home repair, companionship, security and other services to meet their needs at home for as long as possible." While such efforts can pose certain challenges, including questions of liability and issues related to affordability in low-income communities, they also present many older adults with a much-preferred alternative to the loss of independence and expensive assisted living and nursing home facilities. For more information, visit:
New York Times
©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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