Texas state Sen. Charles Schwertner says nursing homes can do a better job of providing care.  Photo by Ilana Panich-Linsman

— By Thomas Korosec AARP Texas and the state’s nursing home industry, with about approximately 1,200 facilities, are sometimes on opposite sides of issues in Austin. But they share one conclusion: Serious problems plague this vital part of the health care system. “To strengthen nursing home quality in Texas, AARP is asking the Legislature to hold nursing home operators accountable when they provide poor care,” said Amanda Fredriksen, AARP Texas associate state director for advocacy. A variety of sources and studies …

AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson

— By Bob Jackson Not often enough is there public discussion of the topic of family caregiving and what can be done to support these everyday heroes. Now is a great time for the conversation: November is National Family Caregivers Month. In Texas alone, there are more than 3.4 million family caregivers. Each day, they’re assisting older parents, spouses, partners, children with disabilities, other family members and friends, helping them remain in their own homes and communities – where they want …

Photo Credit: Adam Coppola Photography

— On Thursday evening, Nov. 17, AARP Texas will host a public forum in Austin featuring local and national experts discussing strategies for Texas communities to become even more accessible, comfortable and safe for people of all ages. Thursday’s “Austin Livability Solutions” event is the latest of the nationally acclaimed AARP Livable Communities Solutions Forums and will be presented as part of the Image Austin speaker series. The event – which is free and open to the public — will feature …

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— Many older LGBT citizens face difficulties getting proper medical treatment. Some live alone due to fear of discrimination. Others can find it hard to settle into nursing homes because of potential mistreatment. AARP Texas will participate in an event this weekend in Fort Worth that aims to provide education and advice. From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, the Coalition for Aging LGBT will host the Inaugural Summit on LGBT Aging at the University of North Texas’ Health …

Photo Credit: Adam Coppola Photography

— Austin enjoys a reputation as a young city. It’s also among the fastest-growing areas for people 55 and older. City leaders are taking the growth trend seriously. On Thursday, the Austin City Council approved a plan to help people “age in place.” The plan – the first of its kind to be adopted by a Texas city – aims to bring about needed changes that will benefit older persons, families and children alike. When implemented, it asks for a recreation …

Dr. Bill Thomas

— You can’t stop getting older, but you can disrupt aging by ignoring outdated expectations and defining yourself. Bill Thomas, M.D., a geriatrician and Life Reimagined Institute expert, is on a national tour promoting a new view of aging through a nonfiction theatrical performance called “Life’s Most Dangerous Game.” Sponsored by AARP, the tour includes stops in Fort Worth, Nov. 14; Tyler, Nov 15; Waco, Nov. 16; Austin, Nov. 17; and Houston, Nov. 18. The show complements AARP CEO Jo Ann …

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— On the Fourth of July, Sidney Williams of Brownsville sliced his hand while opening a vase. He needed urgent medical treatment. So, he visited a nearby emergency clinic after a friend called ahead to see if the clinic would accept his insurance. When they arrived, Williams said the clinic staff confirmed that the clinic would accept his insurance. He got stitches and other care from the clinic’s onsite doctor. Later, he got a medical bill – for $6,500. Not surprisingly, …

AARP's highest statewide honor recognizes Ollie Besteiro’s work as an educator, national leader, volunteer, and champion for Texas seniors

— AARP Texas today announced that Olivia “Ollie” Besteiro has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 AARP Texas Andrus Award for Community Service. Named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, the award is given in recognition of those who embody the association’s goal of bringing lifetimes of experience and leadership to serve all generations. Besteiro, an Austin resident and South Texas native, is a former long-time public school teacher and state education association leader who has worked tirelessly as …

He's in great spirits!

— Asking a loved one to move into a nursing home is a difficult decision, and choosing the right home can be an emotional task. Before settling on a facility, experts say it’s a good idea to visit several and to use a checklist based on your observations. In Texas, there are more than 1,200 nursing homes. Tragically, the quality of care in Texas nursing homes is worse than many other states. One in five nursing home residents, or roughly 19,000 …

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— Every year, Sept. 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. For 30 days, the nation comes alive with the sounds of Latin music, cultural murals, and events that celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of Hispanic people throughout history. When the observance began in 1968, it only lasted for one week. It wasn’t until 1988 that the celebration expanded to 30 days. Personally, I like knowing that from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 the public is learning about my culture. …