— Hunger persists long after the holiday spirit of giving winds down. That’s why AARP Maryland sponsors Spring Forward Harvest for the Hungry, an annual drive to replenish local food pantries. Nearly 1 in 5 low-income residents 60 and older struggle with hunger, according to Maryland Hunger Solutions. Older people who don’t know where they will get their next meal are five times more likely than their food-secure peers to suffer from depression. They also are more susceptible to extended hospital …

— Private sector workers in New York who are also family caregivers became eligible for paid family leave as of Jan. 1. Under a new law proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and supported by AARP New York, workers can take as much as eight weeks of family leave to care for older relatives, as well as to bond with newborns. They receive half their average weekly pay—or up to half the statewide average, whichever is less. By 2021, the maximums …

— By Sarah Hollander Soon after Mary Relotto moved her 90-year-old mother into her Columbus home last fall, she realized she would need help. While family members can perform nursing tasks for a loved one at home, state regulations restrict the tasks that hired caregivers can provide. Home health aides can assume many tasks, but nurses must perform others, including the administration of medications. Relotto, a 52-year-old business consultant, said she wanted more flexible options. “If I’m the responsible party, then …

— Caregiving is challenging, as Delaware’s 123,000 unpaid family caregivers can attest. Home health aides can provide needed support with tasks such as bathing, dressing and feeding. But because state law does not allow these workers to administer medications, family caregivers often have to leave work to do it themselves. AARP Delaware is pushing for legislation that would allow nurses to delegate certain medical tasks to home health aides to relieve the burden on family caregivers. The First State ranks 41st …

— AARP Idaho is hosting its annual Lobby Day on Thursday, Feb. 8. AARP members can visit the Statehouse in Boise, watch lawmakers in action and show support for key issues, such as the Idaho Caregiver Act and access to telehealth. Participants will attend committee meetings and observe House and Senate action. Having AARP members present and actively engaged can show strength in numbers, while highlighting issues affecting constituents age 50 and older. The free event includes bus transportation and lunch, …

— By Vanessa Ho Every weekend, Mark Diimmel goes out for dinner and a movie with his sister, who often takes him to get Chinese or Italian food, or maybe burgers and a milkshake. Diimmel, 64, has schizophrenia and lives in an adult family home in Bremerton, paid for by Medicaid and Social Security. But the outings have become more difficult. Everything costs more, while his personal-needs allowance—the amount of income Diimmel is allowed to keep for himself—has remained the same, …

— By Michelle Crouch Julia McLean, 70, knew it was time to get a second pneumonia vaccination. Her doctor had reminded her, but the holidays were coming, so she decided to put it off. That turned out to be a mistake. In early 2017, McLean came down with pneumonia. “It was horrible,” said McLean, who lives in Charlotte. “I was really, really sick for three weeks. I felt terrible, I had no energy, and it seemed like it took forever to …

Three Nurses

— Mississippi has the fourth-highest percentage of rural residents in the country and the lowest number of doctors per capita. Meanwhile, the state’s 60-plus population is growing faster than any other age group. These factors can make it hard to access medical care, especially for those who don’t drive. AARP Mississippi is pushing for legislation that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to evaluate patients, order and interpret tests and manage care. Currently, these nurses must have a collaborative agreement with …

— The state is facing budget cuts, and AARP is fighting to keep the burden from falling on Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens. In September, Gov. Matt Blevin (R) asked most state agencies to cut their budgets by 17.4 percent to avert a $200 million shortfall. Although Medicaid payments would be exempt, most services administered by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living would not. Kentucky ranks 50th among the states in the percentage of Medicaid long-term care dollars allocated to …

— The Iowa General Assembly convenes Jan. 8, and AARP Iowa is continuing to press for legislation that can ease the transition from hospital to home for patients and family caregivers. An estimated 317,000 Iowans serve as unpaid family caregivers, helping their parents, spouses or other loved ones with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, meals and transportation. They also help with medical tasks such as managing medications and dressing wounds. Even so, a 2015 survey found that 50 percent of …