— By Ryan Gruenenfelder   For too long Illinois has been without a comprehensive, balanced budget that helps make life better for residents of all ages. Since 2002, the Governor and the General Assembly have failed to pass a truly balanced budget. And for almost two years, the State has operated without anything beyond a ‘stop-gap’ budget.  This budgetary inaction has led to a current fiscal year 2017 budget deficit of somewhere between $5.4 billion to $7.8 billion, depending on whose …

— Millions of family caregivers in Illinois will have many reasons to celebrate during National Caregiving Month in November, as new laws will provide much and urgently needed help for them as they take care of their loved ones. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of AARP, the Hospital Association and other groups, the Illinois CARE Act will help to significantly increase coordination between caregivers and hospitals. The law requires hospitals to: Provide your loved one the opportunity to designate a family …

— You may have heard in the news that yet another Alzheimer’s drug has failed to show efficacy in a large clinical trial.  Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced last month that their drug Solanezumab had failed its second trial. What do these drug failures mean?  They may mean that our current hypothesis “the amyloid theory” (the notion that the accumulation of a sticky protein in the brain, called amyloid beta, is the reason for progressive neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease) is false. …

— AARP’s Ryan Gruenenfelder joined Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs at a press conference to compel Life Insurers to Pay Death Benefits. Proposed House Bill 302 would force Insurance Companies to Make Good on Promise Dating Back to 1996.  This legislation would compel life insurance companies to review past records and confirm death benefits have been paid to deceased life insurance customers. The proposal legislation represents the next logical step to bringing practical change to the life insurance industry considering some companies …

— Moving forward with our Enough is Enough campaign mobilizing citizens across Illinois and encouraging them to hold elected officials – the Governor and the members of the General Assembly – accountable for the gridlock and demand they find long-term solutions and pass a budget that restores the fiscal health of our state.  AARP’s Illinois own Ryan Gruenenfelder was interviewed by the Illinois News Connection for the audio piece linked below. Ryan conveyed our key campaign messages right at the time …

— By Jackie Spinner Illinois’ continuing budget crisis put Joy Paeth in a bind. As chief executive of AgeSmart Community Resources in Belleville, which provides legal assistance, home-delivered meals and transportation services to older people in seven counties, she was finding it difficult to hire a key employee because of uncertainty over continued state funding. After a year without a budget, the state last summer finally approved a spending plan through the end of 2016 that allowed public schools to open …

—   AARP State Director Bob Gallo was a guest on WCIU’s YOU AND ME IN THE MORNING discussing our Fraud Watch Network and providing tips to combat scams and fraud this holiday season. Take a look and see what AARP Chicago is doing in the community. WCIU DECEMBER SEGMENT    

—  AARP Provides Quick Steps to Stay Warm, Encourages Residents to Check In on Elderly Friends and Neighbors  CHICAGO– With a new, extreme round of cold weather upon us this week, it’s critical to wear layers, stay warm, protect yourself against falls and injuries, and check in on elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors who may be at particular risk of cold-related health problems. Simple, quick steps can help you and others stay warm and safe in the current, life-threatening freeze. “Here …

— What are common challenges that caregivers face? Caregivers face many shared challenges. With changes in roles and responsibilities, caregivers may feel torn in different directions. The weight of the responsibility of caring for someone may cause feelings of isolation, sadness and grief, as often times the freedom they once had is now occupied by responsibility.  They may even begin to fear their own health decline, and worry that their spouse or loved ones may face similar challenges caring for them …

— State lawmakers recently passed the Employee Sick Leave Act, which allows family caregivers to use up to half of their sick leave benefits at work to take time off for a family member’s illness, injury or medical appointments. AARP Illinois was the leading advocate for the new law, which will take effect Jan. 1. More than 1.5 million Illinoisans are family caregivers, and many struggle to balance their paid work with the responsibilities of caring for a sick parent, spouse, …