— 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 lawmakers today finalized a measure that gives important new rights to millions of unpaid family caregivers. A priority for AARP, House Bill 2425 (companion to Senate Bill 1417) would help Texans when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The legislation goes next to the governor’s desk. The measure would ensure hospital patients’ designated family caregivers are offered instruction in providing needed care at home. The measure is vital because unpaid family caregivers often …

— In Texas alone, there are more than 3.4 million unpaid family caregivers, many of whom provide complex medical and nursing tasks for their loved ones, and sometimes without adequate explanation or training. It’s not unusual for their tasks to include managing multiple medications, providing wound care, overseeing special diets, and operating high-tech medical equipment and monitors. Glenn Weaver of Flower Mound has been the caregiver for his wife, Aggie, since 1997, when she had two strokes that left her without …

— The Texas Senate took a pivotal step toward improving the quality of care in Texas nursing facilities on Wednesday by unanimously approving Senate Bill 932, which seeks to hold nursing home operators accountable for harming residents. Senate Bill 932 — sponsored by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) — was approved on a 31-0 vote and now heads to the Texas House of Representatives. The bill revises the state’s “Right to Correct” law to make it more difficult for serious violations of …

— To promote age-friendly, livable communities, AARP Texas is hosting gardening classes across the state. AARP wants to create communities that promote healthy lifestyles and allow people to age in place. Such communities offer access to outdoor spaces; safe, accessible recreational facilities; and social participation for people of all ages. Daily activities such as gardening can lead to better health, especially for people who don’t enjoy athletic activities or going to the gym. On April 13, AARP members and their guests …

— Carolyn Hartman’s mother, Myrtle Hartman, died last spring after spending eight years in a Central Texas nursing facility. Two weeks before Myrtle’s death, Carolyn learned that her mother, at the age of 93, was being given – without necessary consent — an-anti-anxiety medication with serious side effects. But that’s not all. There were other serious health concerns facing her mother that shocked the Hartman family. “A phone call came one morning that she had severe pain in her right hip,” …

— A bill filed this week in the Texas Senate would ensure that Texans taking care of a loved one released from a hospital or rehabilitation facility would receive caregiver information and training. Senate Bill 1417 by Texas Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) would guarantee that family caregivers receive consultation in medical tasks, such as how to dress a wound or administer medications, to ensure that they can safely provide care when their loved ones return home. Known as the CARE Act, …

— Texas Appleseed and AARP today released five “Managing Someone Else’s Money” guides, a toolkit for financial caregivers in Texas who manage money or property for those unable to do so for themselves. This interactive series of guides, in English and Spanish, is available in print and online at www.ProtectTheirMoneyTx.org. Nearly 3.5 million unpaid family caregivers in Texas provide a great labor of love by helping their parents, spouses and others manage their financial affairs – but they often lack the …

— 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 …