— Individuals ages 50 and older make tremendous contributions to improve our communities. Their life and professional experiences shape and inform their ability to disrupt, innovate, and create. They truly are champions and trailblazers, and their efforts and groundbreaking contributions need to be recognized. That’s why AARP Illinois and Crain’s Chicago Business have joined together to launch 50@50+ Illinois – a recognition of Illinoisans over the age of 50 who are making a positive impact in their communities. They don’t adhere …

— 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 …

— After a great 2014 Where We Met 2000 of You…   We will continue to offer the wildly  popular free AARP TEK Workshops in 2015 to help close the technology gap among people 50-plus. These workshops will be hosted in several cities across the nation, including Chicago and at AARP’s Life@50+ National Event in Miami on May 14–16. The workshops will include the familiar “Intro to Smartphones/Tablets,” and “Staying Connected with Social Media,” along with the new “Beyond the Basics: …

— AARP Illinois has teamed up with Microsoft Corp. to offer free computer classes for AARP members. Held at the Microsoft store in Oak Brook, the two-hour classes provide a basic introduction to various programs. Topics include Windows 8.1, PC and online safety, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and photography. Microsoft supplies classroom computers, but participants are welcome to bring in their laptops. “This is a great opportunity for members to update their computer skills—whether to brush up a résumé, put their household …

— Joseph Sjostrom Paula Dianne Butler, 61, is a retired Chicago teaching assistant with no legal background, so she knew that a day in court would be full of surprises. She just wasn’t expecting them to be pleasant. A visit to the Circuit Court of Cook County Elder Justice Center, however, turned her day in court from a fearful experience to a positive one. The center, which opened in September, was expressly designed to enhance access to the court for older …

— This past weekend was a tough one for many Illinois families. In what will go down in history as one of the worst storm systems to hit Illinois in decades, many people lost everything. The Governor has declared 13 Illinois counties as “disaster areas” including Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford, Douglas, Jasper, Pope, Wabash, Wayne and Will counties. With winter weather right around the corner, and falling temperatures on the horizon, cleanup efforts began in earnest Monday. As the …

— By Lisa Bertagnoli • River Forest resident Anne Clark and her family have felt the pinch of health insurance costs at work and at home. Premiums have steadily increased at the small advertising agency in Chicago where Clark’s husband works. Partly because of that, the 60-employee agency now hires contract workers rather than full-time employees. Their 27-year-old son doesn’t have a full-time job, so he pays the full cost of his insurance premiums. Obtaining better and less expensive health insurance is …