— The “Protect Patients First” national tour made a stop in West Virginia on Thursday, July 13. The tour, which launched in early June in Cleveland, aims to inform the public and help persuade senators to reject harmful health care proposals under consideration in Washington. “Protect Patients First” is a national coalition of groups that includes patients, doctors, hospitals and several leading national organizations that are advocating for better health care.  The groups – including AARP, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action …

— About 1 in 10 older Americans have reported experiencing elder abuse, and most experts believe the crime is underreported. According to the National Council on Aging, just 1 in 14 cases of abuse against people age 60-plus is reported to authorities. As part of an effort to stop the trend, AARP West Virginia is working with several organizations to sponsor an abuse prevention event at the University of Charleston on Thursday, June 15. The forum will include presentations on elder …

— It’s shopping season for Medicare beneficiaries. Open enrollment, which runs Oct. 15-Dec. 7, is a time to consider whether your current coverage still meets your needs. The AARP state office wants to remind Mountain Staters about a valuable resource: The West Virginia State Health Insurance Assistance Program (WV SHIP) can help you navigate health insurance choices. WV SHIP counselors provide free, objective and confidential advice—on the phone or in person—about Medicare benefits, prescription drug coverage, supplemental insurance plans and help …

— West Virginia has experienced historic flooding that has devastated communities across the Mountain State. It’s heart breaking to see our friends, family and neighbors hurting and devastated. We are a proud state and know in difficult times, West Virginians come together as a family to help one another and show the nation what Mountaineers are made of. Many of you have been asking, “What can I do?” There are many ways you can help with your time and resources. Here …

— Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) can make a huge difference in health care for patients in rural areas where doctors are few and far between. But without authority to perform certain medical tasks, these highly skilled nurses are hamstrung. West Virginia legislators passed a law in March that allows APRNs to use their education and training to better advantage. Previously, these nurses were required to have an ongoing collaborative agreement with a physician in order to perform certain tasks. Under …

— Diabetes can lead to heart disease, eye and foot problems and kidney damage—conditions that can worsen over time. AARP is working with the West Virginia Medical Institute (WVMI) and Quality Insights, a Medicare quality improvement organization, to promote free classes for Medicare patients with diabetes. The weekly two-hour classes focus on the importance of diet and exercise, getting regular exams and managing medications. The sessions are also open to patients’ family members. More than 239,000 West Virginians have diabetes, and …

— Whether you have original Medicare, Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you have one opportunity each year to make any changes you want. This opportunity is Medicare’s open enrollment period, also called the Medicare Annual Election Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2015). Medicare plan benefits and your needs can change on an annual basis, so use the open enrollment period to compare your options and get the right fit. VIDEO: Watch AARP West Virginia State Director …

— Choosing a Medicare plan can be daunting. With Medicare open enrollment beginning Oct. 15, AARP is spreading the word about a free service that can help West Virginians select a plan. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides professional, confidential information about Medicare benefits, Medigap plans, long-term care insurance and help with applying for benefits. They can advise beneficiaries in person, by phone or online about such matters as medical bills, insurance claims, the prescription drug program and how …

— Many older West Virginians struggle with hunger, yet may not realize they are eligible for help with grocery costs. With a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Walmart Foundation, AARP is working with Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) to identify people who are eligible for benefits from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Those who visit CCWVa or call its toll-free number can receive confidential screening for eligibility, as well as help with filling out the …

— AARP West Virginia, in partnership with the Partnership of African American Churches (PAAC), is hosting a free community event in Charleston, WV on Saturday, December 6 to help you discover organizations and opportunities in the Kanawha Valley Community and beyond. The benefits summit and fair will be held 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center, 200 Civic Center Drive. Learn more about resources in your community that can help you get more out of life. Get information on nutrition, caregiving, job opportunities and …