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PHOENIX -- The city of Phoenix is extending its successful elder care program, Elder Care Connection, to 4,000 city retirees.

Elder Care Connection was launched Jan. 1 and provides 24-hour telephone counseling for city workers on dealing with elder care issues. In addition, trained counselors will perform an in-home assessment, discuss different elder care options and help find care for an elderly relative. The services are provided by Foundation for Senior Living, a Phoenix non-profit organization specializing in elder care issues.

Beginning Aug. 1, Phoenix extended the service to 4,000 retirees. Although most active employees use Elder Care Connection for help with a parent, "the retiree group uses it for themselves," said John Coyle, senior vp at Segal Co. in Phoenix who helped set up the program.

The services are provided free to workers with the city paying Foundation for Senior Living on a capitated basis.

The elder care program is a significant upgrade from what Phoenix used to offer, Mr. Coyle said. Previously, workers received a booklet with local referrals for care.