jeff johnson aarp florida state director

— By Jeff Johnson (This op-ed originally appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of the Sun Sentinel) Still struggling with Irma’s aftermath, Floridians were stunned by news Wednesday that eight frail elders died from heat-related causes after a Hollywood, Fla., nursing home lost its air conditioning.  A hospital with functioning air conditioning was across the street. A criminal investigation is now under way into the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, but initial reports seem to indicate that miscommunication …

5 States

— The 2017 hurricane season has been tough for all Floridians – and it’s not over yet. For Floridians age 50-plus, for family caregivers and for Florida communities, there have been challenges to overcome from Key West to Fernandina Beach, and just about everywhere in between. For most Floridians, Hurricane Irma is a bad memory. The power is back on in most cities and towns, flooding has subsided and cleanup of storm debris is under way or even partly complete. But …

— According to recent data, a couple retiring this year looks to spend an average of $275,000 on healthcare throughout the course of their retirement. Health care costs are rising faster than inflation and the overall economy, with one in five families reporting difficulty paying medical bills. If you are over the age of 60 and are experiencing financial insecurity from these rising health care costs, SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) is a free program that may be able …

5 States

— A portable or “whole-house” electrical generator can be a big help after a hurricane. But AARP’s Florida state director urged Floridians to take care when using electrical power generators for backup power during power outages, citing as many as 10 deaths across the state in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Three died in a home near Daytona Beach and another four were rushed to a nearby hospital, according to news reports. One man was found dead in his home in …

— By Susannah Nesmith Six months after Hurricane Matthew skirted the Florida coast last fall, Nancy Sikes-Kline was finally able to move out of her temporary apartment and into a house—but it wasn’t her house. “It’s taking much, much longer than any of us ever imagined” to put her life back together, said Sikes-Kline, 60, a land use consultant and St. Augustine city commissioner. “For older people, it’s particularly difficult because we don’t have time in our lives financially to recover. …

— Summer is coming, and that means not only fun in the sun but hurricane season, as well. AARP Florida urges state residents to be prepared for devastating storms—and to remember that not all mishaps come from the weather itself. Falling tree limbs or ceilings, broken glass in standing water and mishandled generators all can cause injury or death. Be ready by having three days’ worth of supplies, including clean water, nonperishable food, medicines and any needs for your pet. Remember, …

— By Tom Scherberger A Naval Academy graduate, Ken Reinhardt spent four years in the Navy before working in the airline and manufacturing industries as an engineering and production manager. “I left active duty in 1967, and for years I wasn’t eligible for VA benefits,” Reinhardt said. “At an AARP event in Orlando in 2010, the gentleman at a VA booth encouraged me to apply again and, lo and behold, I was deemed eligible. I use the VA for an annual …

— March 2017 Nestled north of Orlando, off the I-4, the city of Longwood has been steadily coordinating its efforts toward creating an age-friendly community for its 14,000 residents, of which roughly 21 percent after older than 60 years old. The city currently has in place a slate of social programs — senior matinee, painting courses and fitness classes — but also runs the RuOK Program, which provides assistance and resources to its more vulnerable, elder residents. This visitation and emergency planning …

— March 2017 Of course a community that offers options like tennis, aquatics, shuffleboard, monthly food truck rallies, senior ballroom dancing would be a member of AARP’s Age-Friendly Network. Not only does Lakeland, which touts designations as a bike- and walk-friendly community, has these robust activities to keep their older population on-the-go, but they also offer a plethora of meal services for seniors who are more homebound. Meals and Wheels, VISTE Deliveries and food banks provided by churches offer services communitywide. …

— Of course a community that offers options like tennis, aquatics, shuffleboard, monthly food truck rallies, senior ballroom dancing would be a member of AARP’s Age-Friendly Network. Not only does Lakeland, which touts designations as a bike- and walk-friendly community, has these robust activities to keep their older population on-the-go, but they also offer a plethora of meal services for seniors who are more homebound. Meals and Wheels, VISTE Deliveries and food banks provided by churches offer services communitywide. The city …