CHAPTER 362

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 353

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ELDER CARE INFORMATION AND SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR DELAWARE FAMILIES WITHIN THE DIVISION OF AGING, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES.

WHEREAS, by the 21st century 50 million Americans will be over 65 and 45% of this group will be 75 or older; and

WHEREAS, there is a broad spectrum of elder care options, from assistance with housekeeping to full nursing home care; and

WHEREAS, there is an increasing need for family involvement with care of the aging at a time when more of the population has joined the workforce; and

WHEREAS, it is estimated that 301. of employees are care givers and 80% of that care is provided by family members rather than institutions; and

WHEREAS, care giving responsibility impacts productivity, availability, mobility, turnover, and creativity, and results in higher use of health benefits; and

WHEREAS, family members have an increasing need for information and support as they attempt to provide appropriate care for elderly relatives.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 31 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Chapter 35, which shall read as follows:

"Chapter 35. ELDER CARE INFORMATION AND SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR DELAWARE FAMILIES

§3501. Declaration of Policy

The General Assembly of the State of Delaware recognizes that caring for the elderly is becoming an increasing responsibility of Delaware families. While it is an objective of the Division of Aging to help older people remain independent in their homes or in their community, some degree of assistance is often needed. When more services are needed or nursing home care is required, families become very involved and must make difficult decisions. In many cases, these decisions are made without the knowledge of the resources or alternatives available.

By establishing an Elder Care Information and Support System for Delaware Families, the General Assembly intends to assist Delaware Families by making available information regarding elder care resources and alternatives.

§3502. Establishment of an Elder Care Information and Support System For Delaware Families.

There is hereby established an Elder Care Information and Support System for Delaware Families within the Division of Aging, Department of Health & Social Services.

§3503. Responsibilities of the Elder Care Information and Support System For Delaware Families.

The Elder Care Information and Support System shall have the following responsibilities:

a) Develop a state wide information and support system for Delaware families who are caring for elders locally or providing long-distance care giving;

b) Establish an Alzheimer's Family Support Center to assist families confronting the devastation of Alzheimer's Disease;

c) Network with the Delaware business community to encourage their active role in providing assistance to their own employees;

d) Network with other states and national organizations, such as the Washington Business Group on Health, to provide additional assistance to Delaware families; and

e) Engage in such other activities as shall be deemed beneficial to further assist Delaware families in meeting their elder care responsibilities."

Section 2. This Act shall be effective upon the appropriation by the General Assembly of sufficient funds for the purposes set forth in this Act.

Approved July 16, 1990.