GSWI

Focus on Care and Caregiving in National Caregiver's Month

In This Issue:
Upcoming Deadlines
Announcements
Research & News
Funding Opportunities
Resources
Policy

Upcoming Deadlines

Southern Gerontological Society Announces Call for Papers
The Call for Papers for next spring’s annual meeting of the Southern Gerontological Society (Richmond, VA, from April 7 to 10, 2010) is available online at  www.southerngerontologicalsociety.org. The meeting theme is “Applied Gerontology as Community Engagement”. The abstract deadline is December 1, 2009.

AGHE Seeks Student Representative
The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education is looking for a Student Representative to serve on its Executive Committee. For more information about the position and application process, please see the description on the AGHE website here. Deadline: December 15, 2009.

Hartford Faculty Scholars and Hartford Doctoral Fellows Applications Due February 1, 2010
Hartford Doctoral Fellows: February 1, 2010
Hartford Faculty Scholars: February 1, 2010

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Announcements

Hartford Faculty Scholar Gaynell Simpson Receives Senator Barbara Mikulski Caregiver Award
Hartford Faculty Scholar Gaynell Simpson, on behalf of the Department of Social Work at Morgan State University, will accept the 2009 Barbara Mikulski Caregiver Award on Friday, November 13. The Department of Social Work is being recognized for being a resounding partner in the field of aging services and for academic achievement in education, training, development and outreach to older adults and caregivers. The Geriatric Social Work Initiative offers our congratulations to Dr. Simpson and her colleagues at Morgan State University for their achievement.

AGHE Releases Fall Newsletter
The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education has released its latest edition of AGHExchange. This issue features utilizing health care reform as a teachable moment, faculty roles in gerontological internships, and planning for geriatric emergency and response.

The following announcements relate to programming at the 2009 Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia:

Health and Aging Policy Fellows Informational Session at GSA
The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program will be holding an informational session at the Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting next week. Supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies and directed by Harold Alan Pincus, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University (in collaboration with the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program), this national program seeks to provide professionals in health and aging with the experience and skills necessary to make a positive contribution to the development and implementation of health policies that affect older Americans. To find out more, please attend the info session at the Hilton Hotel in room H-110 at 6:30pm Thursday, November 19, 2009.

AGE-SW Reception
The Association for Gerontology in Social Work (AGESW) provides leadership in the areas of gerontological social work education, research, and policy, and fosters cooperation, collegiality, and an exchange of ideas among social work educators, researchers, and students committed to or interested in gerontology. Attend the reception at the Marriott Marquis Atrium Level, Room A703 on Friday, November 20th at 6:00pm.

Hartford Faculty Scholars and Doctoral Fellows Recruitment Meeting
This discussion meeting will center around funding opportunities for Geriatric Social Workers. Come and learn more about funding sources for Social Work Faculty and Doctoral Students. The Hartford Faculty Scholars Program, Hartford/NIA Institute on Research in Aging, and the Hartford Doctoral Fellows Programs will be discussed. Come to the recruitment meeting at 7:00am on Saturday, November 21st in the Hilton Hotel, Room 305.

Teaching Innovations for Geriatric Mental Health Competencies: Multidisciplinary Approaches
The Master’s Advanced Curriculum (MAC) Project will present an interdisciplinary symposium, co-sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Gero-Ed Center, the Geropsychiatric Nursing Collaborative, and the Centers of Excellence in Geropsychiatry. The symposium will feature five presentations on a variety of evidence-based teaching tools to enhance mental health training curricula in social work, medicine, and nursing. Join us in Atlanta to learn about these teaching innovations and participate in a stimulating discussion led by Rachael Watman, Senior Program Officer for the John A. Hartford Foundation and Sadhna Diwan, Project PI, MAC Project. For more evidence-supported curriculum resources on health, mental health, or substance use visit us at http://depts.washington.edu/geroctr/mac/index.html ! The symposium will take place Sunday, November 22 from 8:00am to 9:30am. Check the conference program for the room assignment.

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Research & News

Advice on Relocating While Caring for a Parent
In this struggling economy, many are relocating for work. Caring for an ill or aging parent can be an especially tough challenge during this time. Joann S. Lublin writes about the blessings and curses of care while in transition.

Spouses of Alzheimer's Patients Seek Intimacy In Extramarital Relationships
Support groups for caregiving spouses of Alzheimer's patients are addressing the issue of recovering the intimacy those caregivers previously had with their spouses, Alicia Mundy reports. Mundy writes for the Wall Street Journal and has explored the issue of giving care to a spouse with Alzheimer's while forging a new intimate relationship outside of marriage. A number of support group leaders have reported that members forge relationships with one another. For more on this issue, please read the original article here.

Budget Cuts to Ombudsman Programs Mean Elder Abuse Is Underreported in California
The California State Office of Oversight and Outcomes says reports of complaints from ombudsman are down 40 percent following budget cuts in California last year. The authors of the report fear that this decline means that abuse is going on undocumented. Read more from the San Francisco Gate.

Those Aging With Aids Age Faster
For those aging with AIDS, they may not only have the syndrome to worry about. After noticing that his friends with the disease were having cognitive issues usually associated with aging, David France, a contributing editor at New York Magazine, wrote a story on AIDS-related aging. While it is still unclear if the illness itself or the treatment for it is causing these effects, France wants to know "why don't we don't have more drugs, less toxic drugs? Where is AIDS activism? Why aren't the people with HIV themselves organizing to call for research into the next frontline medications?" Many questions remain unanswered.

Muscle Strength Factor in Alzheimer's
Reuters reports that those with more muscle power were less likely to get Alzheimer's Disease. The link between the two was discovered when researchers at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago measured the strength of nine different muscle groups in dementia-free men and women between the ages of 54 and 100 years of age. Over a four year period, 138 of 970 developed Alzheimer's. Though they were older and had worse mental function than others, they were also weaker. The researchers adjusted for age and education level, but found that muscle strength still had a strong effect on the disease. For details, please see the release from Reuter's Health here.

H1N1 Most Deadly in Older Adults
While hospitalization rates were higher for infants and young adults than in older people, older adults who are hospitalized are more likely to have fatal outcomes. According to the California Department of Public Health, there were 1,088 cases of hospitalizations and deaths between April 23 and August 11, 2009. While the overall mortality rate was 11%, adults 50 years of age and older had a mortality rate of up to 20% in that short period of time.

Internet Use Reduces Depression in Elderly by 20%
Using data from the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study conducted at the University of Michigan, derived into data maintained by the RAND Center for the Study of Aging (data from 2006), the Phoenix Center paper narrowed the data set down to 7,372, including only respondents 55 or older, who were retired and not in nursing homes. The study found that the Internet reduces the probability of a depression classification as determined by the CES-D scale by approximately 20%. Laurie Orlov, from Aging in Place Technology Watch, suggests that, in addition to promoting access to the Internet, older adults need and will benefit from required associated support.

Half of Elder Caregivers Suffer Depression
New America Media reports that half of all elder caregivers suffer from depression. This article, translated from the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily, states that "Taking care of the seniors may be rewarding and good for the family, but without appropriate support, it can be a very stressful responsibility." Fanny Chiang includes subsections in the article that address concerns that affect depression including: Struggles and Tolerance, Lack of Support, Building Pressures, High Private Nursing Home Costs, and Volunteer Help and In-house Services.

Use of Anti-Psychotics in Dementia Patients Heighten Mortality Rates, UK Study Finds
Both Reuters and the Guardian are warning against the use of anti-psychotics for dementia patients. Anti-psychotics are often used and overprescribed says Sube Banerjee, the author of the report being cited and a professor of mental health and ageing at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London. Both sources are reporting that the over-use of such medication leads to heightened mortality rates.

Retirement Helps to Heal in France
After retiring, employees in France felt up to 10 years younger than when they were working, BBC News reports. Researchers from Stockholm University and University College London asked employees from the French national gas and electricity company to rate their own health up to seven years before retirement and up to seven years after. They found that the number reporting their health as below par fell from 19% in the year before retirement to 14% in the year after, which they equated with a gain in health of up to 8 to 10 years.

Singapore's Growing Aging Population Leads to Training Course for Family Caregivers
The rapidly growing aging population in Singapore has led to a new training course for family caregivers. Forty-nine staff were trained under the program developed by the National Trades Union Congress Eldercare Co-operative Ltd. and TSAO Foundation and twenty-nine staff have graduated from the Workforce Skills Qualification's "Certificate in Community Home Care Giving Skills". This training should help family members to care for relatives in the home when they are dealing with issues of mobility, but do not require hospitalization.

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Funding Opportunities

UMichigan Offers NIA Postdoctoral Fellowship
The University of Michigan School of Social Work will have a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellowship available in 2010. This fellowship develops researchers who will contribute to the theoretical and empirical knowledge base for determining policies and programs that can enhance the well-being of aging individuals. The program of one to two years is tailored to each fellow. For more information, please see the University of Michigan's webpage on NIA Training in Social Research on Applied Issues in Aging.

New Funding Opportunities from NIH
The National Institute of Health has a number of grant opportunities, which include, but are not limited to the following:

Paul B. Beeson Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award in Aging
Paul B. Beeson Clinical Scientist Development Award in Aging

For a more complete listing on the NIH funding available for aging-related research, please click here.

RAND Postdoctoral Training Program in the Study of Aging
The RAND Postdoctoral Training Program in the Study of Aging enables outstanding junior scholars in demographic and aging research to sharpen their analytic skills, learn to communicate research results effectively, and advance their research agenda. Housed within the Labor and Population Program, the program blends formal and informal training and extensive collaboration with distinguished researchers in a variety of disciplines. Fellowships are for one year, renewable for a second. Each fellow receives a competitive annual stipend, travel stipend and health insurance. For more information on this program, please click here.

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Resources

Case Study Findings: Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology in Nursing Homes and Home Health Agencies
The US Department of Health and Human Services has released case study findings on Understanding the Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology in Nursing Homes and Home Health Agencies. It discusses results in terms of Anytime and Anywhere Access to Health Information, Greater Efficiency in Meeting Administrative and Federal Requirements, Improved Quality Management, and Health Information Exchange (implications for policy and implementation).

Growing Smarter, Living Longer
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new guidebook entitled Growing Smarter, Living Longer: A Guide to Smart Growth and Active Aging. The publication includes sections on Staying Active, Connected, and Engaged, Development and Housing, Transportation and Mobility, and Staying Healthy. In addition to help for individuals, there is also a section for community self-assessment.

Advocacy Tips for Family Caregivers
The Family Caregiver Alliance has a resource called Advocacy Tips for Family Caregivers. It includes a call to action, tips on writing letters or making phone calls on behalf of another and other activities, advocacy resources, and links. Click here if you would like a printable version.

A Primer on the Uninsured
From the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured comes this new resource: The Uninsured: A Primer. This primer, updated with 2008 data, reviews the basic profile of the uninsured population: how they receive care, the latest trends in health insurance coverage, key issues in increasing coverage, and basic statistics on the uninsured. More detailed breakdowns are available in supplemental data tables. To download the issue brief, click here. To access the coverage data tables, please click here.

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Policy

Family Caregiver Alliance Offers Policy Resources
The Family Caregiver Alliance offers a section of their website dedicated to state and federal legislation, which includes a breakdown of all the bills introduced or enacted by the current Congress and how they will effect family caregivers. There is a similar breakdown for state legislation. In addition, the National Center on Caregiving  public policy briefs, FactSheetsmonographs and research studies document current issues, caregiver needs, services and Best Practices. They also publish an electronic newsletter, Caregiving PolicyDigest, which highlights legislation, research, policy changes, events and new program developments.

A New Model for Nursing Home Improvements
The Commonwealth Fund releases an issue brief in support of a shift in regulation of nursing homes. It suggests that, in order to improve the regulation, state and federal governments need to find a balance between the traditional regulatory approach and a new partnership model aimed at promoting better performance. The issue brief discusses the structure of the model and the basis on which it was derived.

Up-To-Date Side-By-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals
The Kaiser Family Foundation offers side-by-side comparisons of all the current major health care reform proposals. You can access the interactive online version on the website or you can download .pdf versions of the House Leadership Bill, the three Congressional authorizing committee proposals, or a printable comparison of all the proposals and topics. (Last updated November 10, 2009.)

Canadian Supporters of Euthenasia Worry About the Potential for Misuse
While a large majority of Canadians favor Euthenasia (61% according to the Environics Research Group poll), they are still hesitant when asked to consider the implementation of the law. Fifty-five percent of those strongly in favor of euthenasia worry that "significant number" of people could be put to death against their wishes, while 72% of those tentatively in favor share the same worry. This poll is especially timely since it comes at a time when Bill C-384, which would legalize euthanasia for those in physical or mental distress, is undergoing second reading in Parliament.

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Ripples, an e-newsletter designed to keep interested deans and directors, faculty members, students, practitioners and others informed about the work of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI). We welcome your feedback and encourage you to contribute any story ideas, stories, resources, news and other content to subsequent issues of the newsletter. To make a contribution, please contact us via email at gswi@geron.org.

For archived issues of Ripples, please click here.