— By Cristina Rouvalis When a sales representative for an electricity supply company came to her Greens­burg home in 2013 promising lower bills, Ronel Baccus said she would consider it. Although she never signed up, she said the alternative energy supplier switched her service over without her knowledge. Baccus, 51, suffered sticker shock as her electric bills climbed from $60 to $260 a month. She has asked the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project to help her get a refund for those higher …

— Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be expensive. That’s why AARP Pennsylvania wants residents on fixed incomes to know they may be eligible for four $5 checks redeemable at qualified farmers markets and roadside stands, beginning June 1. The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program offers the checks to Pennsylvanians 60 and older whose annual income does not exceed $22,311 for an individual or $30,044 for a couple. The checks are distributed first …

— AARP Pennsylvania is reminding Keystone Staters that the deadline to apply for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been extended until Dec. 31. The program is available to Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older, and people with disabilities 18 and older. The annual income limits are $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can …

— There are many uncomfortable issues that individuals try not to think about too much, until it impacts your family.  For many families in Pennsylvania, one of those issues is turning out to be drug addiction. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it is not the kind of drug addiction that has been immortalized as a part of the late 60’s counter-culture movement, or even the cocaine epidemic that impacted lives in the 80’s and 90’s.  This addiction crisis isn’t limited to younger people; …

— With a new AARP study showing retail prescription prices have increased six times faster than the general inflation rate since 2006, AARP Pennsylvania is reminding older residents that they can receive help paying for prescription medications from the state’s PACE and PACENET programs. According to a report released earlier this month by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI), the average annual cost of therapy for one prescription drug totals more than $11,000, which equals a startling 75% of the average …

— Today AARP Pennsylvania thanked U.S. Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA8) for endorsing a reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) during a speech yesterday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Millions of older adults rely on the OAA to live with dignity and independence in their communities by receiving age-appropriate meals, access to abuse prevention services, transportation assistance, information referrals and even opportunities to serve their communities. The OAA also saves tax dollars by keeping many seniors out …

— In 1991, Helen and Wallace met like many people do, having a brief conversation that was pleasant but never bloomed into romance. Twenty-five years later, they reconnected and found love through volunteering. “I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend the rest of my days,” said Helen Clark-Turner. The couple first met at a singles ministry in Wallace’s church. Helen and a friend went to the event, where she first briefly met Wallace. Helen’s friend decided to date, and …

— On January 24, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story regarding caregiving. It highlighted the York family from West Philadelphia, who struggled with caregiving for an ailing mother, and found resources to help. AARP Pennsylvania State Director,  Bill Johnston-Walsh, wrote to the Philadelphia Inquirer to highlight the importance of caregiving. His letter is as follows:   Dear Editor, Sunday’s story Recognizing Overtaxed Caregivers provided a compelling example of how so many families work tirelessly caring for aging parents, spouses, friends or other loved …

— SNOWZILLA AND THE AFTERMATH   With apologies to the Erie area (which must think the rest of Pennsylvania is pretty worthless for only having to deal with 30 inches of snow this winter) and parts of the northern part of the state that escaped this storm (were there really only 2 inches of snow in Scranton?), the story of the week in Pennsylvania was the blizzard that shut down much of the Commonwealth for days.  The part of the snowstorm …

get ready for 10-digit dialing!

— The nearly ubi-quitous use of mobile phones has made landlines unnecessary for many Americans. But that’s not an option for residents of rural areas where cellphone service is spotty. AARP Pennsylvania is fighting to make sure that landline service remains available and affordable for the nearly 1.5 million Keystone Staters who reside in rural areas. The cost of providing and maintaining landlines in rural areas is high, and sparser populations mean the cost per customer exceeds that for urban dwellers. …