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Articles from the Caregiving Policy Digest

Posted: December 17, 2011

Includes: New Fact Sheet: Caregiving With Your Siblings, Gallop: 72% of Employed Caregivers are Caring for a Parent, Study: Adult Day Care Services Reduce Stress for Family Caregivers of Adults with Dementia, and Pennsylvania House Approves Bill to Update PA Family Caregivers Support Act

New Fact Sheet: Caregiving With Your Siblings

June 22, 2011
The Family Caregiver Alliance recently hosted Francine Russo on a webinar entitled “Family Caregiving: Work With Your Siblings To Keep Your Life, Family, and Sanity Intact!” and a follow-up fact sheet is now available on FCA’s Web site. The fact sheet provides strategies on how to avoid reverting to old sibling roles (“the nurturing one” or the “over-achiever”) and how to have realistic expectations about caregiving. For example, while it's possible to keep a parent safe and secure, it may not be realistic to feel responsible for ensuring that a parent is happy 100% of the time. Eight detailed suggestions for working with siblings are included in the fact sheet. For more information, visit:

  • FCA Fact Sheet: "Caregiving With Your Siblings"
  • FCA Archived Webinar: "Family Caregiving: Work With Your Siblings To Keep Your Life, Family, and Sanity Intact!"

Gallop: 72% of Employed Caregivers are Caring for a Parent

August 3, 2011
Gallup recently released data from surveys of employed caregivers, with three in-depth articles. The first article focuses on demographics of caregivers and a trend that the less income and education an American has, the more likely they are to be a caregiver. Twenty-one percent of Americans who make $36,000 or less report that they are caregivers, while only 15% of high in-come ($90,000+) employees report serving as caregivers. The authors speculate that higher-income Americans may be able to pay for professional care, or potentially that higher income/ educated Americans tend to be younger.

The second article highlights data on caregiving and employment and finds that while 71% of caregivers report that their employer is aware of their caregiving role, only about a quarter of employees have access to employer programs that would support them, for example support groups, ask-a-nurse services, financial/legal advisors, and assisted living counselors.
The third article provides data on the amount of time and types of caregiving activities that people perform. In a survey of 2,805 employed caregivers, 72% are caring for a parent and 55% reported providing care for three years or more. Caregivers assist-ed with general day-to-day tasks on an average of 13 days a month, while providing personal
assistance with activities like toileting, dressing, eating and bathing on an average of six days a month. The majority of caregivers (64%) report that the care recipient does not live with them, however, of those who don’t live with the care recipient, 66% live within ten miles of the care recipient. Caregivers report that on average, they spend five hours a day providing companionship or supervising their loved ones and thirteen hours a month on navigating health care, coordinating doctor visits, and managing financial manners for their loved one. For more information, visit:

  • Gallup Part One: More Than One in Six American Work-ers Also Act as Caregivers
  • Gallup Part Two: Caregiving Costs U.S. Economy $25.2 Billion in Lost Productivity
  • Gallup Part Three: Most Caregivers Look After Elderly Parent; Invest a Lot of Time

Study: Adult Day Care Services Reduce Stress for Family Caregivers of Adults with Dementia

August 3, 2011
A recent study conducted by Steve Zarit, Professor and Head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University, and several colleagues illustrates how adult day care services help to reduce the stress experienced by family caregivers of adults with dementia. The research team provided 150 caregivers in New Jersey who care for people with dementia with 24-hour daily diaries and assessed their stress levels prior to their use of adult day care services. The care recipients attended the centers for an average of six hours a day for three days a week, with average activities including 30 minutes of physical activity, 1-2 hours of social activity, and one hour of activities focused on cognitive stimulation. During the first month, behavior problems reduced to 75 minutes, and during the second month, 52 minutes. The authors note that sleeping problems and behavior problems at home were reduced on days when the person attended the day care center. In contrast to past studies, their results indicate that the adult day care center didn't just “shift” stressors from one part of the day to another, but actually reduced stress and is an effective way to provide respite. For more information, visit:

  • Penn State Press Release: "Adult day care services provide much-needed break to family caregivers"
  • The Journals of Gerontology: Series B Advance Access: "Effects of Adult Day Care on Daily Stress of Caregivers: A Within-Person Approach" (Abstract is free)

PA: House Approves Bill to Update PA Family Caregivers Support Act

October 1, 2011
On October 5th, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of House Bill 210 to update the Pennsylvania Family Caregiver Support Act. Advocates suggest that the Act, originally introduced in 1990, needed updating because current eligibility rules meant that more than $1 million of funding for the program was unspent in FY 2009-2010. The eligibility rules would expand beyond solely caregivers who are related and living in the same home as the care recipient to also include non-relative caregivers and caregivers who do not live in the same home as the care recipient. The bill would also increase the maximum monthly amount a caregiver (for a care recipient whose household income levels are 200% or less of FPL) could receive to purchase services like respite and consumable supplies like incontinence pads. If passed, eligible caregivers could receive a maximum of $500 a month to purchase services while the maximum total amount for a home modification would remain at $2,000. For care recipients with household income between 200 and 380% of the FPL, a sliding scale will be created. For more information, visit:

  • FCA Legislation Center: Summary of HB 210
  • PA Senior Support Coalition Press Release “Advocates for Older Pennsylvanians Ask State Lawmakers to Pass Long-Overdue Help for Family Caregivers This Fall"