State Legislation, Policy & Reports
Georgia, Tennessee: "Seniors Wait on Services"
Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Chloe Morrison wrote on August 23, 2007 that the Area Agencies on Aging in Northern Georgia and Southern Tennessee will either have to keep many older adults waiting for services, such as home-delivered and congregate meals, respite for family caregivers and transportation, or deny them services altogether. Due to a $300,000 budget cut, the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Georgia will not be able to serve any new clients who need services, while those older adults who already receive help or are on long waiting lists will not lose their services or their place in line. By contrast, Southern Tennessee is not experiencing budget cuts and it has much shorter waiting lists for services - including no waiting list for Medicaid's Home and Community-Based Services. However, the growth in the population of older adults and the increase in the cost of services is causing many service providers in Tennessee to worry that they will soon face a situation similar to Georgia's and will have to start turning people away. For more information, visit:
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
Children's Health Insurance Legislation Could Impact Medicare
In September, Congress will work to reconcile the House-passed and Senate-passed bills to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The House-passed bill, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (H.R. 3162), includes many provisions that will affect low-income seniors' access to health coverage through Medicare. Provisions that will be of particular help to many family caregivers include allowing states to continue to provide adult day services under their Medicaid state plans, increasing funding for State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs), improving access to Medicare prescription drugs and strengthening consumer protections in Medicare plans. For more information, visit:
Australia: Government Will Fund Dementia Initiative Beyond 2009
The Australian Minister for Aging, Christopher Pyne, announced on August 22, 2007 that the government would continue funding the country's Dementia Initiative beyond 2009. The Initiative focuses on dementia research, improved care initiatives, training for family caregivers and direct care workers, and early intervention programs. In addition, it includes funding set to reach $90 million ($74.2 million US) by 2009-2010 to help older adults with dementia remain living and receiving care at home. For more information, visit:
Australian Minister for Aging
Canada: Funding for Home Care an Issue in Ontario Elections
Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman pledged a 33% increase in funding over three years for home care services for older adults if the Liberal government is reelected over the Progressive Conservative party in the upcoming elections. That would bring home-care funding to a total of $700 million ($667 million US) over three years. Candidates from the opposing party have claimed that Smitherman is "throwing money at the issue to try to buy votes." For more information, visit:
Research Reports & Journal Articles
Study Reveals Family Caregivers of Dementia Patients Pleased with Hospice Care
An article in the July 2007 issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (Volume 34, Issue 1) revealed findings from a new study which found that approximately three-fourths of families of dementia patients who received hospice care were satisfied with the experience. Nearly the same percent of families of cancer patients in hospice reported the same results. Families at 796 hospices in the U.S. were asked about the quality of care at the hospice, including questions about whether they were kept well-informed of their family member's condition. It is still much less common for dementia patients to participate in hospice, compared to cancer patients. For more information, visit:
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Study Examines Depression in Caregivers of Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment
An article in the August/September 2007 issue of the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias (Volume 22, Number 4) describes a study which examined factors associated with depressed moods in caregivers caring for people with mild cognitive impairment. The article, "Depressed Mood in Informal Caregivers of Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment" by Dr. Yueh-Feng Yvonne Lu and her colleagues, reports that nearly one in four (24.6%) caregivers surveyed reported feelings of depression. Younger, nonspousal caregivers with less education who cared for adults with less ability to carry out every day activities were more likely than other caregivers to be depressed. For more information, visit:
American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Study Finds Positive Effects of Family Councils in Nursing Homes
An article by Dr. Linda Cox Curry and her colleagues, "A Study of Family Councils in Nursing Homes," discusses the results of a survey which examined the presence, characteristics and impact of Family Councils within nursing homes. The survey, reported in the July/August 2007 issue of Geriatric Nursing (Volume 28, Number 4), had a low response rate, but did find that 12 of the 16 nursing homes which responded had active Family Councils. "Both the survey and personal interview results supported the positive effect of active Family Councils to provide mutual support, empower its members, and advocate change to improve the residents' quality of life." For more information, visit:
Conferences & Trainings
University of Wisconsin's Annual Colloquium on Aging October 18
The Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is hosting its 19th Annual Colloquium on Aging on October 18, 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin. The event will feature experts speaking on a range of topics, including risk factors for dementia. The Colloquium is free, however, pre-registration is required. For more information, visit:
Institute on Aging, University of Wisconsin
Annual Public Health Meeting and Expo November 3-7
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is holding its Annual Meeting and Expo in Washington, DC on November 3-7, 2007. The theme this year is "Politics, Policy and Public Health," with sessions covering a wide range of topics, including family caregiving and long-term care issues. The Meeting attracts more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists and related health specialists. For more information, visit:
American Public Health Association
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
"When a Kid Becomes the Caregiver"
Reporter Michael Alison Chandler wrote a story for the Washington Post on August 25, 2007, about the nearly invisible population of children who are also family caregivers. "As many as 1.4 million children in the United States from age 8 to 18 care for a chronically ill or disabled relative." These children often suffer academically, emotionally, socially and financially, and yet there are few programs or support systems available to them. The article tells the story of one teenage caregiver who is working hard to overcome the challenges of caring for her mother with multiple sclerosis while also attending college. For more information, visit:
NPR Story Discusses Need for More Geriatricians
On August 21, 2007, "Marketplace" on National Public Radio (NPR) aired a story about the low number of doctors choosing to be geriatric physicians. Despite the aging of the population and the need for more health professionals who specialize in aging, geriatrics attracts few new doctors because it does not pay as well as other specialties. Because the goal is not always to cure an older patient but instead to manage their pain or condition, geriatric medicine involves a lot of care coordination and communication - tasks not reimbursed by Medicare. Policymakers are looking at care coordination legislation and programs such as PACE, which provide comprehensive services to low-income older adults, to address these problems. For more information, visit:
"Marketplace" on NPR
©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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