State Legislation, Policy & Reports
Hawaii: Governor Releases Funds for Caregiver and Older Adult Programs
On November 5, 2007, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle released $775,000 for programs supporting family caregivers and older adults, funding which was approved by the legislature in June 2007. Approximately 40% of the funding ($300,000) will be used to establish a "one-stop shop" in Hawaii County, following the model of federally funded Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), which will provide caregivers and older adults with counseling, referrals, assessments and assistance in applying for publicly and privately funded services. The center will include a database of information and resources, available in person or through a statewide call center. The rest of the funding ($475,000) will be used to expand Kupuna Care, a program that provides a financial safety net for older adults who need assistance but may be eligible for other public programs. These funds will be distributed to the state's Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), each of which will make the final decisions on how to spend these additional Kupuna Care funds. For more information, visit:
Utah: Panel Supports Pilot Program to Test In-Home Care after Hospital Discharge
On November 5, 2007, the Deseret Morning News reported that Utah's Medicaid Interim Committee agreed to underwrite a pilot program to examine whether discharging older adults to their homes and providing in-home care services produces better or equal health outcomes at a cheaper cost, compared to discharging patients to nursing homes for their recovery. Besides the fact that providing in-home care services is cheaper than nursing home care, the Committee agrees that additional factors must also be taken into account when discharging people to their homes, such as the availability of family caregivers. The state legislature and the federal government must approve the pilot project. For more information, visit:
Deseret Morning News
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
Americans Giving care to Elders (AGE) Act Introduced in Senate
On October 31, 2007, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced the Americans Giving care to Elders (AGE) Act (S. 2267). The bill would authorize $12 million over four years for the establishment of a National Resource Center on Family Caregiving to identify and develop best practices in caregiver support, to provide information on caregiver policies and programs, to convene educational programs and web-based seminars and to offer a website with a national database of caregiver programs and resources. The bill would also provide a caregiver tax credit, allowing those caring for a parent or other direct ancestor to claim 20% of eldercare expenses up to $6,000, with a maximum credit $1,200. The tax credit will begin to phase out for families making over $120,000 per year and will be eliminated for families making over $200,000. Finally, the bill would increase funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). The two Senators also introduced the Long Term Care Insurance Integrity Act (S. 2268), which would protect consumers with long term care insurance by establishing a third party review board to address cases in which insurance companies deny benefits. For more information, visit:
President Vetoes Spending Bill that Increases Funding for NFCSP, Provides $2 Million for Lifespan Respite
On November 13, 2007, five days after Congress sent President Bush the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 (H.R. 3043), the President vetoed the bill. The bill would increase funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) by $2 million, up from $156 million in FY 2007. The bill would provide a $7 million increase for older adult supportive services and senior centers (Title IIIB), up from $350.6 million in FY 2007, and an increase of $28.1 million for home-delivered and congregate meals, up from $587.2 million in FY 2007. The bill also includes $2 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Act, a new program signed into law in December 2006. It remains to be seen whether Congress has the votes to override the veto. For more information, visit:
November is National Family Caregivers Month
November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to highlight the sacrifices family caregivers make every day to provide care to a family member, friend or neighbor; to applaud their hard work and dedication to care for society's older adults and adults with disabilities; and to advocate for support and services to help family caregivers care for themselves while they also care for others. Family Caregiver Alliance has developed a National Policy Statement which outlines recommendations for how Congress and the Administration could better support family caregivers. For more information, visit:
Family Caregiver Alliance
Issue Brief Highlights Medicaid's Role for Women
The Kaiser Family Foundation released an Issue Brief in October 2007 called "Medicaid's Role for Women." Among other things, the brief highlights Medicaid's role in providing long-term care services, including nursing home care and home- and community-based services, to women at higher rates than men because women tend to live longer and are more likely to be poor. In looking towards the future, the brief identifies changes in Medicaid policies, such as opportunities to expand home- and community-based services and changing rules regarding asset transfers, as issues which could affect women's use of and access to Medicaid in years to come. For more information, visit:
Kaiser Family Foundation
United Kingdom: Local Newspaper Publishes Series of Articles on Elder Care
The U.K.'s Evening Telegraph published a series of articles starting October 31, 2007, which examine how older adults in the city of Derbyshire make care decisions, what services they have access to and what the future of elder care looks like in the community. The first article, "I'm Happy in Care and My Family Can Now Get on with Their Lives," explains how one family cared for their mother at home for many years before she was eventually moved into a care home after her condition worsened. The city's adult social services agency determined that she needed a higher level of care services - public services which generally include in-home care and home modification - than it could provide if she remained at home. Another article, "Independence, Respect and Dignity: The Future of Care for the Elderly," describes the city's trend toward providing more home care services, in part to help out family caregivers who want to keep their family member living at home, and new, innovative thinking about institutional care that respects older adults' privacy and independence. For more information, visit the Evening Telegraph:
"I'm Happy in Care and My Family Can Now Get on with Their Lives"
"Independence, Respect and Dignity: The Future of Care for the Elderly"
AARP Report Compares Long-Term Care in Germany and the United States
AARP released a report by Mary Jo Gibson and Donald Redfoot called "Comparing Long-Term Care in Germany and the United States: What Can We Learn from Each Other?" The report highlights each country's long-term care (LTC) system in order to "understand their impact on financing and coverage, consumer options and choice, family caregivers, the LTC workforce, and the quality of services." The report finds that Germany's social insurance approach to LTC financing has allowed it to provide more support to family caregivers, promote consumer choice and provide universal coverage for services based on level of disability, not on income. At the same time, LTC policies in the U.S. have been shifting towards home- and community-based services over institutional care and focusing on civil rights for adults with disabilities. For more information, visit:
Research Reports & Journal Articles
Article Highlights a Son's Experience Sharing His Caregiving Story
Dr. Jerald Winakur, a geriatrician, wrote an essay for the "Narrative Matters" section in the November/ December 2007 issue of Health Affairs (Volume 26, Number 6) called "Dad's Legacy," which reflects, not only on his experience caring for his dad, but on what it was like to share his caregiving story in a 2005 issue of Health Affairs. The response to his 2005 essay was overwhelming, prompting thousands of people from across the country to reach out to him for advice about their own caregiving situations. The experience made Winakur realize that family caregivers are eager to tell their stories and to make their voices heard as they deal with the stress and other challenges that come with caregiving. For more information, visit:
NIH Finds 1 in 7 Americans Age 71 and Older Has Some Type of Dementia
The National Institutes of Health released a report on October 30, 2007 which reveals that about 3.4 million Americans age 71 and older - one in seven people in that age group - have dementia, and 2.4 million of them have Alzheimer's disease. This study is the first to estimate rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease using a nationally representative sample of older adults across the United States. The study highlights the broad impact of dementia, not only on those with the disease, but on their families and communities as well. For more information, visit:
National Institutes of Health
Conferences & Trainings
Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Annual Conference February 21 - 24
The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) will be hosting its 34th Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference from February 21 - 24, 2008 in Baltimore. The conference, called "Disciplinary Convergence: The Nexus of Gerontology and Geriatrics Education," is for educators, clinicians, administrators, researchers, service providers and students to share insights and expertise regarding teaching and learning about the aging process and older adults. The early bird deadline for registration is February 7, 2008. For more information, visit:
Association for Gerontology in Higher Education
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
"Caregivers should unite to demand services, agency director says"
On November 9, 2007, Cleveland's Plain Dealer reported on a speech that FCA Executive Director Kathleen Kelly gave at a caregiving conference in Ohio. Kelly said that caregivers have a basic right to support services and that their "informal" work caring for older adults and adults with disabilities - which accounts for 80% of long-term care in the U.S. - should not be taken for granted by policy makers. She highlighted the work of the Department of Veteran's Affairs, which has programs to support families caring for veterans; the CDC, which recognizes that caregiver stress is a public health concern; and legislators, including Senators Amy Klobuchar and Barbara Mikulski, who are introducing bills to support family caregivers. For more information, visit::
Article Highlights Shortcomings in Support for Family Caregivers and Formal Care Providers
As part of a series on elder abuse, the Wisconsin State Journal published an article on November 9, 2007, which highlights the "Caregiver crisis." The newspaper's eight-month investigation into elder abuse reveals that the "government's efforts to support good caregivers and protect the elderly from bad ones fall short." The article points out that family caregivers don't get enough support, training or respite; direct care workers "get poor pay, benefits and inadequate training, which leads to high turnover, poor screening and bad care;" and our system of overseeing and screening direct care workers is filled with gaps. For more information, visit:
Wisconsin State Journal
©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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