— Melinda Dunn of Sugar Land is battling a cancer that has spread from her lungs into her spine. Right now, private insurance is covering her treatment, but she fears that changes in federal health laws could limit her coverage. “That worry is a horrible feeling when you’re trying to stay healthy but you’re sick, and you’re trying not to worry about money,” says Dunn. “It’s just right there in the front of your mind. You go, is this worth it?” …

— By Gabrielle Wilkosz Whether it’s windstorms, floods or wildfires, Texas endures some of the worst of Mother Nature’s wrath. That’s why it’s vital for the 50+ community, and friends and family, to prepare for unfavorable and even dangerous weather conditions. During the 2017 hurricane season, which runs through November, precautionary measures like assembling a hurricane toolkit, registering with a special needs shelter, and mapping out an evacuation plan can put your mind at ease and possibly save lives. Plan ahead …

— By Laura Tillman Marie-Pierre Stien of Houston is a creative person fond of trying new things. A school administrator, she writes flash fiction—stories of less than 500 words—and she’s working on illustrations she will give away to people. It’s not surprising that Stien, 54, isn’t intimidated by social media. She uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for her artistic endeavors and for advocacy and outreach. Stien is taking on a relatively new online medium—the podcast—produced by AARP in Houston. The online …

— Texas ranks 35th when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents and people with disabilities, and AARP warns more must be done, at an accelerated pace, to meet changing demographic demands. Specific areas of concern in Texas include the percent of high-risk nursing home residents with pressure sores, as well as the percent of nursing home residents who are inappropriately receiving an antipsychotic medication. This, according to a new, comprehensive state-by-state Scorecard from AARP with support …

— AARP Texas is proud to announce that three new laws, already signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, will help protect financially vulnerable Texans. The news measures were strongly endorsed by AARP, which worked closely with lawmakers of both parties to ensure their passage. Preventing abuse as it happens Financial institutions and securities professionals have new ways to report and address suspected exploitation of clients age 65+. This change is thanks to HB 3921, by State Representative Tan Parker (R-Flower …

— Many family caregivers manage money or property when a loved one cannot. AARP Texas and the advocacy group Texas Appleseed have released a tool kit that can help caregivers safeguard their relatives’ assets and avoid unintended conflicts of interest. “Managing Someone Else’s Money in Texas” is a series of guides in English and Spanish. Each guide is tailored to a different type of fiduciary, including people who are agents under power of attorney, appointed by a court to be guardians …

— ** High-Priority Nursing Home Quality Legislation Approved ** Older Texans have cause to celebrate several major accomplishments of the 2017 Texas regular legislative session. In the final hours of the session, lawmakers approved a top priority for AARP Texas – major nursing home quality reforms that seek to hold operators of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities more accountable when they have been found to have done harm to their residents. This session, Texas lawmakers also approved numerous AARP-backed …

— As Texas lawmakers near the end of the 2017 legislative session, AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson issued the following statement: “The 2017 legislative session will be memorable for its emotional fervor and theatrics. It also deserves recognition for advancing the wellbeing of older Texans and for making progress on certain issues that affect consumers of all ages. “AARP gives high marks to members of the Texas Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott for taking seriously the concerns and needs of older …

— Texans have reason to cheer a significant act of progress out of the legislative session. Late Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 507, which bolsters patient protections against surprise medical billing. Surprise medical billing occurs when an insured person receives out-of-network care (often in emergency care situations, like visits to neighborhood emergency clinics), and later get hit with medical charges that can far exceed what’s covered by the patient’s insurance. The AARP Texas-supported legislation was sponsored by …

— Telemedicine – or telehealth – could soon take firmer hold in Texas under legislation recently sent to the governor that would help patients meet with physicians via smartphone, tablet or computer. Employers and private insurers are already embracing the trend as a means of making healthcare more affordable and convenient, and as a step toward avoiding costly emergency room and doctor’s office visits. The Texas House and Senate approved Senate Bill 1107, which eases some of the state’s restrictions on …