— ** 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 …

— By Ellen Chang Mari Okabayashi, of Houston, has volunteered with AARP at state legislative sessions, congressional and city council hearings, and community events. She has advocated for defending Social Security, making Houston more walkable, limiting payday lending fees, helping older people avoid becoming victims of fraud, and opposing utility rate hikes. She also serves as a Texas Silver-Haired Legislator for Harris County. “Volunteering for AARP allows me to meet so many of our seniors,” said Okabayashi, 67. “I get to …

— On behalf of AARP Texas, State President Charlene James issued the following statement to extend condolences to the family and friends of Congressman Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, who died Monday: “I am very saddened to learn of Kika de la Garza’s passing. Texas has lost an exceptional leader and great statesman, and the world has lost a champion for progress. “A proud son of the Rio Grande Valley, Congressman de la Garza served the people of our state well …

— Job search and strategy skills are an essential asset to have as a worker today. In Central Texas, where many newcomers arrive each day looking for work, there’s a great demand for knowing the practical steps to take toward improving chances of getting a job. For older workers looking for employment opportunities or those who are just wanting to enhance their career-building and job-interviewing skills, a series of job expos are being held throughout Austin in 2017. AARP Texas is …

— Though retired from a business management consulting career, Mari Okabayashi stays active as a champion for older persons and volunteer for AARP in Houston. This month, Okabayashi accepted a two-year appointment to serve on the AARP Texas Executive Council. Executive Council members are appointed volunteers who work with AARP Texas staff and volunteers throughout the state to provide strategic guidance in support of AARP’s national strategies. For more than seven years, Okabayashi has been an AARP Texas volunteer. She’s been …

— By Charlene Hunter James Black History Month is once again upon us, providing a time to reflect on the history of African-Americans and the events which have shaped the course of history for many in this country. During this time, one of the things that gives me pause for reflection is the belief that there are endless possibilities in our lives. AARP, the organization that I volunteer for and have the honor to serve as Texas president, refers to this …

— Austin is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, with a population of more than 930,000. Like other Texas cities, it’s car-focused, which means frequently long commutes and roadway congestion. Despite the daily traffic messes, public transit ridership has not increased significantly in recent years. Though it offers a robust transportation network of more than 360 buses, 82 bus routes, 220 vanpools, 171 paratransit vehicles, and a 32-mile rail line, Capital Metro passenger numbers are mostly stagnant, with …

— 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 …

— 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 …