Family Caregiver Alliance's Policy Digest

Policy Digest Newsletter
A Newsletter of FCA's National Center on Caregiving

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May 2, 2012

Volume XII, Number 9

I nthis issue section head

State Legislation, Policy & Reports 

  1. OK: AARP State President Of AARP Advocates For In-Depth Background Checks  More...
  2. CO: Resort Towns Focus On Boomers Who Are Retiring And Want To Age  More...
  3. IL: Governor's Plan: Increase Cigarette Tax To Pay For Medicaid  More...

Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports 

  1. House And Senate Legislation Make Large Cuts To SNAP  More...
  2. HHS Announces More Options For Community-Based Care  More...
International News 
  1. Taiwan: Little Sisters Of The Poor Profiled For Work At Home Of The Aged  More...

Research Reports & Journal Articles

  1. Study: Chronic Stress Makes Immune Cells Less Sensitive To Cortisol  More...
  2. Analysis: 52% Of Elder-Only Households Lack Sufficient Income For Basic Expenses  More...
  3. Consumer Voice Seeks Input From Home Care Consumers For Report On Quality Home Care  More...

Conferences & Trainings

  1. Webinar: "Providing Culturally Competent Services To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Clients May 22  More...
  2. Webinar Series Focuses On Alzheimer's Disease And Family Caregivers  More...
  3. Webinar: Navigating The Senior Care Maze, May 16  More...

Funding, Media & Miscellaneous 

  1. Application For 2012 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations In Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards Now Available  More...
  2. National Center For Creative Aging Invites Nominations For Research Award  More...
  3. Blog: Nostalgia And Caregiving- Or "Families Used To Take Care Of Grandma And Didn't Abandon Her To A Nursing Home"  More...
  4. NPR's Series Focuses On Caregiving And Multigenerational Households  More...
  5. Facebook Seeks To Increase Organ Donors  More... 
  6. West Wing Cast Reunites For Public Service Announcement  More... 

Research Registry  

  1. Family Caregiver Interviews And Caregiver Tool Testing  More... 

If you are interested in having your registry listed, please contact 


Connect with FCA

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Marjorie Lyons, the state president of AARP Oklahoma, recently wrote an Op-Edi in the Tulsa World advocating for the passage of HB 2582, which would strengthen how background checks are performed in the state.  Lyons explains that currently, a direct care worker could be charged with harmful acts in another state and then move to Oklahoma, where home-care providers are not required to check the Sex Offender and Violent Offender Registries.  She suggests that for about a $4 tax, Oklahoma could require home-care providers to also check these registries.  For more information, visit:

The Tulsa World: "Small price to protect frail Oklahomans" 

Oklahoma Legislature Website "HB 2582" 


A three-part series in the Vail Daily is focusing on baby boomers aging in resort towns.  Dr. Rodney Harrell, with AARP's Public Policy Institute, explains that Colorado has the second highest number of baby boomers with mortgages on their homes- which will be challenging in retirement with reduced incomes. Other considerations for boomers include making homes more user-friendly, including ramps, wider doorways, and first-floor bedrooms.  For more information, visit:

The State Journal-Register reports that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's proposal to use a cigarette tax to pay for Medicaid is opposed by several Illinois legislators.  Governor Quinn's proposal would use the tax revenue to address a $2.7 billion shortfall in Medicaid, and would also raise the full pension benefit age to 67, change how cost-of-living increases are determined, and would implement a three percent increase in employee's contributions to their pensions.  In California, Proposition 29, if passed, would increase the tobacco tax by $1 per pack.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, Tobacco companies have already spent $21 million in California to defeat Proposition 29.  For more information, visit:


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House And Senate Legislation Make Large Cuts To SNAP


The Senate Agricultural Committee approved a new farm bill last week, and according to CBS MoneyWatch, the legislation would reduce funding for SNAP (Food Stamps) by $4 billion.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) voted against the bill, citing the 300,000 families in New York who would lose about $45 per month.  Legislation approved by the House Agriculture Committee would make $33 billion in cuts to the SNAP program over a ten-year period.  In an Op-Ed about the importance of SNAP, Kathy Green from the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas explained: "We've all heard the myths, but what about the facts? SNAP is targeted at the most vulnerable households: 76 percent of SNAP households include a child, elderly person, or disabled person, and 85 percent of SNAP households have gross income at or below 100 percent of the poverty line. Despite what you might hear, benefits are not overly generous - the average participant gets a monthly benefit of just $134. That's less than $1.50 per meal."  For more information, visit:

North Country Public Radio: "Gillibrand votes no as committee passes farm bill" 

Reuters: "House panel okays $33 billion in food stamp cuts" "Green: Federal food aid cuts would hurt families"

USDA: "Building a Healthy America: A Profile of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" 


HHS Announces More Options For Community-Based Care


HHS announced late last month that the final rules for the Community First Choice option are now available. States that chose to participate in the Community First Choice Option will receive a six percent increase in their FMAP in exchange for providing community-based attendant services and supports to beneficiaries who would otherwise receive institutional care.  Secretary Sebelius also announced that 16 participants have been selected (out of 130 applicants) for the three-year Independence at Home Demonstration that will provide home-based care to chronically ill Medicare patients.  For more information, visit:

Community First Choice Option 

Independence at Home demonstration 


New Guide Explains Greater Transparency Rules For Section 1115 Waivers

A new guide from Families USA details new transparency requirements for states that are applying for Section 1115 waivers.  As part of the Affordable Care Act, states will now have to increase the number of opportunities for stakeholders to provide input before a waiver application is sent to CMS, after the application is submitted, and after the waiver is approved.  The new rules took effect on April 27, 2012.  For more information, visit:


Families USA: "How the Affordable Care Act Makes the Section 1115 Waiver Process More Transparent" 



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Taiwan: Little Sisters Of The Poor Profiled For Work At Home Of The Aged

Focus Taiwan recently highlighted the work of 12 Catholic nuns in Pali, New Taipei City in northern Taiwan who serve 90 residents in a Home for the Aged. The article, excerpted from the United Daily News, focuses on the diversity of nuns who come from Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Scotland, Spain, Columbia and Taiwan. The sisters have served over 1,000 poor seniors who don't have family since the home was opened in 1968, and many of the nuns are also in their 70s and 80s. Sister Josefa Restrepo Toro, the eldest nun at age 89, explains: "That's why I only encourage them and never forces them to do anything. Old people know old people best, you know." The Associated Press recently highlighted the Little Sisters of the Poor and a celebration in Pittsburgh marking their 140th anniversary of caring for the indigent elderly. For more information, visit:

Focus Taiwan: "Talk of the Day --Elderly nuns take care of the aged" 

Associated Press: "Little Sisters of the Poor marks 140 years" 



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Study: Chronic Stress Makes Immune Cells Less Sensitive To Cortisol highlights new research from Carnegie Mellon University focused on the biology of stress and how bodies respond.  In a study, 276 volunteers were interviewed extensively to determine their stress levels, and were then exposed to the cold virus and quarantined for five days. For people who were chronically stressed, their immune systems were unable to regulate the inflammation (runny nose, congestion, coughing) that the body normally uses to get rid of a virus. Instead, these subjects were more likely to develop the full-blown cold.  In a second experiment, 79 participants were exposed to a cold virus and researchers then monitored how well their body could produce pro-inflammatory cytokines (protein messenger chemicals that trigger inflammation). People with impaired abilities to regulate the inflammatory response prior to being exposed to the virus produced more of the chemicals triggering inflammation. Dr. Sheldon Cohen, the lead author, explains that the results of the study suggest that the immune cell's response to cortisol may be more important than the amount of cortisol that is in a person's blood-stream. Cohen explains that in cases of chronic stress, the immune cells may become less sensitive to cortisol, making cortisol less effective in turning off inflammation.  In the most recent survey by the American Psychological Association, (Stress in America: Our Health at Risk), 55% of caregivers reported being overwhelmed by the amount of care a family member requires.  For more information, visit: "New study may show how stress gets under your skin" 

PolicyDigest: "Report: 55% Of Caregivers Are Overwhelmed By Amount Of Care They Provide" 


Analysis: 52% Of Elder-Only Households Lack Sufficient Income For Basic Expenses

A recent analysis of Census Bureau Data by Wider Opportunities for Women finds that while many seniors lack sufficient income for basic expenses, minority elders, especially those living alone, are most at risk of economic insecurity.  "Seventy-two percent of Asian elders, 79% of African-American, and 83% of Hispanic, single, older adults live in households with incomes below the Elder Index, compared to 58% of single, white older adults."  For more information, visit:


WOW: "Doing Without: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans"   



Consumer Voice Seeks Input From Home Care Consumers For Report On Quality Home Care


The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care is seeking input from consumers for a 2012 report focused on quality home care. Home care consumers who are interested in participating should contact Alia Murphy at 202-332-2275, or email, or can answer the questions online, or on a hardcopy version.  For people that submit a consumer name or who conduct an interview, they will be entered into a drawing to receive a free registration for the September Advocacy in Action Training in Washington, DC. For more information,visit:


NCVQLTC: "Consumer Perspective on Quality Care Report"  




Conferences and Trainings section head image 



A webinar on Tuesday, May 22, from 2:00-3:30PM (EDT) will focus on basic information about LGBT older adults, unique needs, and will also provide potential approaches for improving quality of services provided to LGBT older adults. Presenters include : Hilary Meyer (National Resource Center on LGBT Aging at Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), and Sherrill Wayland (SAGE Metro St. Louis). The program will be moderated by David Godfrey (American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging). For more information or to register, visit:


Providing Culturally Competent Services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clients




The National Institute on Aging and the Administration on Aging, in partnership with several grantees, are hosting a webinar series with the goal of improving coordination of resources available for people with Alzheimer's Disease as well as their family caregivers.  The first session (Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias: Basic/Refresher Information & Current Updates for the Aging Network on Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatments) is scheduled for May 9, from 10:30 to 12:00pm (PT). Session Two (On-line Tools & Resources to Assist Individuals with Dementia and Caregivers: National Alzheimer's Contact Center, Eldercare Locator and ADEAR (Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center) is scheduled for June 13, from 10:30-12:00pm (PT).  Session Three (Connecting the Aging Network, Individuals with Dementia, and Caregivers with Research Opportunities) is scheduled for July 12, from 10:30am-12:00pm (PT). For more information, visit:


Session 1

Session 2 

Session 3 



Webinar: Navigating The Senior Care Maze, May 16


A webinar sponsored by the American Society on Aging and Home Instead Senior Care on May 16 at 10:00AM (PT) will focus on how to navigate the healthcare maze when caring for a loved one.  Several issues will be addressed, including critical medical information to know, document gathering, and doctor and medication management.  For more information, or to register, visit:


ASA: "Navigating the Senior Care Maze" 



Funding, Media & Miscellaneous banner

Application For 2012 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations In Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards Now Available


With continuing support from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) is pleased to oversee the annual Caregiving Legacy Awards program now in its fifth year. The program stimulates innovation in the field of Alzheimer's disease caregiving by recognizing and rewarding those efforts which lead the way in addressing the needs of Alzheimer's disease caregivers.  The deadline to apply is August 17, 2012.  For more information, visit:

Award Application

FCA Blog Post About 2011 Award Recipients and Award Reception 


National Center For Creative Aging Invites Nominations For Research Award


The National Center for Creative Aging is now accepting applications for the Gene D. Cohen award, "designed to recognize and honor the seminal work of Dr. Gene Cohen, whose research has shifted the conceptual focus of the field of creativity and aging from a problem paradigm to one of promise and potential."  The award is for individuals who have produced research demonstrating the benefits of creativity in the arts.  For more information, visit:


National Center For Creative Aging


Blog: Nostalgia And Caregiving- Or "Families used to take care of Grandma and didn't abandon her to a nursing home"


In a recent blog posting, Carol Levine, Director of the Families and Health Care Project at the United Hospital Fund in New York City and of the Next Step in Care website, discusses nostalgia and caregiving.  A recent essay about family caregiving prior to Social Security explained that family members were sometimes convinced to be caregivers with the promise of an inheritance.  However, the author suggests that middle-class families no longer have to engage in the "dirty work" of hands on care for parents.  Levine suggests that in reality, family caregivers are still providing a great deal of hands on care.  However, she explains that two programs supporting caregivers (Lifespan Respite and the National Family Caregiver Support Program) continue to be wildly underfunded.  The Next Step in Care recently collaborated with CMS to create six podcasts called ""Helping Patients & Family Caregivers Take the Next Step in Care: Medication Management."  To read Levine's post or listen to the podcasts, visit:


Carol Levine: Family Caregiving Myths, Past and Present 

Helping Patients & Family Caregivers Take the Next Step in Care: Medication Management 



NPR's Series Focuses On Caregiving And Multigenerational Households


National Public Radio is focusing on three multigenerational households and the decisions they face regarding elder care, paying for college, and retirement. Recent stories include "Discovering The True Cost Of At-Home Caregiving," "Preparing For A Future That Includes Aging Parents," and "Can You Pay For Yourself, Your Kids, Your Parents?"  For more information, visit:


NPR: "Family Matters: The Money Squeeze"  



Facebook Seeks To Increase Organ Donors


A new campaign from Facebook seeks to increase the number of people who commit to donating their organs after they die.  According to the New York Times, 7,000 people die every year while waiting for organ transplants, and this new initiative is intended to reduce that number. Facebook users will now be able to add that they are an organ donor to their timeline and share a story about when, where or why they decided to become a donor.  If a user isn't already registered with their state or national registry, they will find a link to the official donor registry as well.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the option was announced on Tuesday this week, and as a result, 6,000 people had enrolled through 22 state registries, a large increase from the usual 400 daily sign-ups, according to Donate Life America, which is working with Facebook.  As of Tuesday night, more than 100,000 people have shared that they are an organ donor through Facebook.  For more information, visit:


New York Times: "Facebook Is Urging Members to Add Organ Donor Status"  

San Francisco Chronicle: "Like: Facebook feature spurs organ donor signups"

Facebook Newsroom: Organ Donation: Friends Saving Lives 



West Wing Cast Reunites For Public Service Announcement


Several members of the West Wing cast recently reunited for a Public Service Announcement focused on a 30-minute intervention that can improve a number of health issues and is sweeping the country.  To see your favorite West Wing cast members, watch their PSA, and learn about the National Institute on Aging's "Go4Life" Campaign, visit FCA's blog.


FCA Blog: "The 30 Minute Strategy" 



Research Registry section head


Family Caregiver Interviews and Caregiver Tool Testing


We know there is often a personal financial burden to care for a loved one. We are developing an online tool to make it easier for primary family caregivers to receive financial support from siblings, relatives and friends. 


Help shape this caregiver tool!  We seek caregivers who:


  • Currently care for a family member, locally or long-distance
  • Coordinate tasks, care or finances with 2+ family members
  • Spend at least $100/month of personal money on care for loved one
  • Use the internet regularly at home

PHONE INTERVIEW. One hour. To describe your needs and challenges with care and finances as a family caregiver. $20 gift card mailed to you for your time.


PROTOTYPE TESTING. Two weeks. Provide honest feedback by phone during three calls; total 75-90 minutes. $50 gift card mailed to you for your time.


CONTACT: Please contact Christine at (510) 909-5740 or  


For more information, visit FCA's Research Registry.


Family Caregiver Interviews and Caregiver Tool Testing



To find caregiver support services in your state, visit FCA's Family Care Navigator

2012 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 or visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website at

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Caregiving PolicyDigest is a publication of the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance, 785 Market Street, Suite 750, San Francisco, CA 94103.

This project is supported, in part, under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions.  These contents, however, do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and endorsement by the Federal Government should not be assumed.