State Legislation, Policy & Reports
California, Minnesota, New Jersey: Three States Receive Federal Grants for Alzheimer's Programs
The U.S. Administration on Aging awarded nearly $1 million in grants to California, Minnesota and New Jersey for new Alzheimer's Disease Demonstration Grants to States (ADDGS) Programs. The 18-month programs are intended to show how existing evidence-based programs can be replicated in other communities for people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia and their family caregivers. In addition to providing direct services for one year, each project must produce a manual with instructions for how to implement such a program, provide materials used in the program, submit research findings for publication in academic journals and develop a cost assessment of the program. For more information, visit:
U.S. Administration on Aging
Wisconsin: Bill Establishes Standards for Care in Alzheimer's Residential Facilities
On August 28, 2007, a bill (A.B. 493) was introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly which would require the state to establish standards of care and treatment for people with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia. Facilities including nursing homes, community-based residential facilities and hospices would be required to meet those standards in order to declare themselves a facility that specializes in care for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. For more information, visit:
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
Census Data Show Decrease in Older Adults Living in Nursing Homes
U.S. Census Bureau data released on September 27, 2007 reveals that the proportion of older adults living in nursing homes has declined in recent years. A USA Today analysis of the figures showed that about 7.4% of Americans aged 75 and older lived in nursing homes in 2006, a .7% drop from 8.1% in 2000 and a 2.8% drop from 10.2% in 1990. Nursing home residents are more likely to be female and to be white. Part of the reason for the decline is not only that older adults with long-term care needs often prefer to remain living at home, but there are increasingly more options for home- and community-based services - an important trend that has helped states save money on nursing home care. For more information, visit:
U.S. Census Bureau
Senate Finance Committee Examines Home- and Community-Based Services
On September 25, 2007, the Senate Finance Committee convened a hearing called "Home and Community Based Care: Expanding Options for Long Term Care," which focused on the Community Choice Act (S. 799). Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the bill's sponsor, explained that the bill would provide funding to states to develop a long-term care infrastructure that supports more home- and community-based services for low-income older adults and adults with disabilities. Four other witnesses also argued that low-income adults deserve the option of receiving care and services at home, rather than being forced into an institutional setting, which is the only option Medicaid is required to cover. For more information, visit:
Senate Finance Committee
Australia: Government to Expand Programs That Allow Older Adults to Remain at Home
In September, the Australian Minister for Ageing, Christopher Pyne, announced that the government would increase funding for the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) by $15 million ($13.4 million U.S.) over four years to provide new or expanded respite care services to carers of frail older Australians with high care needs. In addition, Minister Pyne announced plans to establish 4,000 new "aged care places," or programs with a variety of low- and high-level aging services for people living in their own homes. Many of these programs will be in rural and remote areas, and about 670 of the new programs will be specifically for adults with dementia. For more information, visit:
Australian Minister for Ageing: "More respite for carers of people with high care needs"
Australian Minister for Ageing: "Aged care to 'come home'"
Canada: Study Examines Caregivers of Gay and Lesbian Older Adults
The August 2007 issue of The Gerontologist (Volume 47, Number 4) published an article by Dr. Shari Brotman and her colleagues called "Coming Out to Care: Caregivers of Gay and Lesbian Seniors in Canada." The study identified issues that emerged from interviews with family caregivers of gay and lesbian older adults, including the impact of felt and anticipated discrimination, complex issues related to coming out, the role of family caregivers and access to and equity in health care services. Based on their findings, the authors offer recommendations for change, such as "expanding the definition of caregivers to be more inclusive of gay and lesbian realities, developing specialized services, and advocating to eliminate discrimination faced by these populations." For more information, visit:
Taiwan: "Telecare Seen as Viable Option for Aging Population"
The Taipei Times reported on September 19 that the Taiwanese government has created a 10-year plan for providing health care to a growing population of older adults, with an emphasis on telecare. At a recent conference with the U.K., leaders in the field described telecare as a combination of "social networks, telecommunications and healthcare." A pilot telecare project has been created to incorporate home care, community care and institutional care. As a country that excels in the field of information and communication technology, Taiwan is viewed by officials as a good place to explore and test various telecare initiatives. For more information, visit:
Research Reports & Journal Articles
"Caregiving in Rural America"
Easter Seals and the National Alliance for Caregiving released a report, "Caregiving in Rural America," in September 2007, which provides a profile of caregivers in rural areas. The report highlights demographic data and the unique challenges rural caregivers face. It encourages readers to take steps to address the specific needs of rural caregivers and provides examples of programs currently serving that population. For more information, visit:
MetLife Market Survey of Adult Day Services and Home Care Costs
On September 26, 2007, the MetLife Mature Market Institute released results from the first national survey on the costs of adult day centers, finding that the national average daily rate is $61. Adult day center costs ranged from $130 a day in Vermont to $21 a day in Montgomery, Alabama. The Institute also released its annual data on home health care rates, finding that the national average hourly rate for home health care aides is $19, the same as in 2006. The national average hourly rate for home care workers/ personal aides in 2007 increased to $18 an hour, a $1 increase over the 2006 average. However, rates for services vary considerably by region. For more information, visit:
MetLife Mature Market Institute
Study Examines Strategies Used by Male Caregivers
The August 2007 issue of The Gerontologist (Volume 47, Number 4) published an article that examined husbands' experiences in caring for wives with Alzheimer's disease. In "Taking 'Women's Work' Like a Man: Husbands' Experiences of Care Work," Dr. Toni Calasanti and Dr. Neal King reveal their findings that "husbands' approaches to caregiving and their strategies for dealing with the work and feelings involved were rooted in their sense of selves as men." Their findings indicate that gender does impact a caregiver's experience and that caregiver interventions should not be uniform, but should take into account the unique experiences of the group they are designed to help. For more information, visit:
Conferences & Trainings
National Concepts in Care Conference October 28-29
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is hosting the Second National Concepts in Care Conference on October 28 and 29, 2007 in Philadelphia, PA. The conference will bring together professionals and family caregivers to hear from experts and to discuss issues related to prevention, hands-on care and working with families. For more information, visit:
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
National Positive Aging Conference December 6-8
The 2007 National Positive Aging Conference, "Beyond the Cutting Edge," will be held December 6-8, 2007 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The conference, supported by a number of groups including AARP, the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging, will help professionals who work with older adults explore a variety of topics, from brain and physical fitness to intergenerational planning to lifelong learning. Register by October 10 for reduced fees. For more information, visit:
National Positive Aging Conference
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
"States Help Seniors Age at Home"
On September 14, 2007, Stateline.org, an online news source, published a story by Christine Vestal, "States help seniors age at home," which outlined federal and state initiatives aimed at helping older adults and adults with disabilities remain living at home, rather than going into nursing homes. Vestal explained that about 22% of the U.S. population live in areas covered by Aging and Disability Resource Centers, which are one-stop shops supported by federal grants and state dollars to provide information and advice about home care services and other types of aging and disability programs and assistance. Furthermore, almost every state provides some home- and community-based services through their Medicaid programs. As a result of these and other efforts, there has been a decline in the proportion of long-term care provided in nursing homes. However, there is still a huge need for programs that can provide older adults and their family caregivers with help navigating through the complicated long-term care system. For more information, visit:
"Alzheimer's Caregivers' Cells Seen to Age Faster"
Research findings reported by Reuter's Health on September 25, 2007 revealed that "the stress of taking care of someone with Alzheimer's may cut a person's life short." By examining the genetic material in caregivers' cells, researchers determined that caregivers could lose four to eight years of life. The research also showed caregivers' level of depressive symptoms to be twice as high as that of non-caregivers. The study was published in the Journal of Immunology. For more information, visit:
New Publications on Housing Options for Older Adults
On September 14, 2007, Eldercare Locator issued two housing publications to address concerns raised by recent uncertainties in the housing market and repeated requests by older adults for information and assistance on housing-related matters. "Housing Options for Older Adults, A Guide for Making Housing Decisions" is a booklet that covers the types of housing options available to older adults, as well as the personal and legal issues to consider when making housing decisions. The second publication is an "Instructor Guide" for professionals who plan to conduct workshops on the booklet. These materials, available for free online, were developed by Eldercare Locator and the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, under a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging and support from AARP. For more information, visit:
Eldercare Locator Resource Center
"New Program Helps Elder Immigrants, Adult Children Find Services"
On September 20, 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on efforts in Fremont, California to help older adults and family caregivers from immigrant communities find "culturally enriching and affordable services and opportunities." Leaders from the city started a program with diverse community partners to help older adults who immigrated to the U.S. later in life deal with the many challenges they face, including navigating the health care system and accessing long-term care services. The program trains community members to provide support and assistance to immigrants from their own ethnic or religious background. For more information, visit:
San Francisco Chronicle