—   Gerald Schmitt intended for his retirement to be productive, so he started a business repairing old toys during his first career. Gerald and his wife, Dianna, started Our Playhouse with a storefront in Dodge City where he taught vocational agriculture at the local high school for 31 years. After retirement, they sold the building and moved to Wichita. Now, instead of a storefront, most of their business is on Ebay or at various toy shows. “I usually have around …

—   In case you missed it, you can still listen to the AARP Kansas Teletownhall meeting about protecting yourself from holiday scams. AARP Kansas Director Dr. Maren Turner was joined by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kristin Keckeisen (by phone) with the AARP Fraud Watch Network for a  Teletownhall meeting on December 11, 2017 to talk about the latest scams and frauds in Kansas. Find out how to protect yourself and family and friends from Identity theft and learn what scams are …

— Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs through December 15 in Kansas and many other states. That makes it prime time for scammers to try taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Be wary of phone or email solicitations selling cheap health insurance that claim to meet all federal requirements. If you bite, you may end up without a plan, and with a tax penalty for not having qualifying coverage. Your best bet is to enroll or re-enroll by visiting healthcare.gov, …

— When state lawmakers return to Topeka in January for the 2018 legislative session, AARP Kansas staff and volunteers will be on hand to advocate for issues important to Kansans 50 and older. The AARP state office’s legislative agenda will focus on long-term care, utilities and elder abuse. Financial abuse, for example, costs older Americans more than $2.9 billion per year. AARP Kansas is recruiting volunteers to get involved in these issues. Advocacy volunteers will contact state legislators and members of …

— When the weather turns cold, it’s time to turn up the heat inside your home. Unfortunately, for many Kansans, turning up the heat can strain their household budget. But there’s help from the Kansas Cold Weather Rule which goes into effect on November 1. According to the Kansas Corporation Commission website, the Cold Weather Rule was established in 1983 to protect human health and safety and to insure that Kansans have residential electric, natural gas and water services to their …

— October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Here are six tips to help you stay cyber secure: Create strong passwords. In fact, instead of a password, create a passphrase. Make it something unique to you and easy to remember. For example, if you’re a pie lover, your passphrase could be Ilovechocolatepie. Like to golf? How about Golfismyfavoriteactivity. Think of something that would be easy for you to remember, but hard for a thief to crack. Enable stronger authentication. Stronger authentication (also …

— When you think of healthy food, do you think bland and boring? Wichita Chef Josh Rathbun proved it doesn’t have to be that way during AARP’s healthy cooking class in Wichita in August. Using recipes developed by Celebrity Chef Rock Harper, cooking class participants chopped and diced, stirred and tossed, simmered and baked, and, most importantly, smiled and laughed their way through the preparation of a healthy meal under the direction of Chef Rathbun.  They made cornbread, vegan chili and …

— If you get a call from a tech support company saying they have detected a virus on your computer, hang up! You may get the same pitch from a pop-up ad. These are scams, intended to get you to fork over money to “fix” your computer or get you to buy phony virus protection. Get an inside look at this scam from a con artist who reveals jut how the scam works to the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/techscams. …

— If you’re planning to move this summer, be on the lookout for unlicensed movers and fake moving companies. You should get at least three quotes from prospective moving companies before hiring one. Be aware of movers that don’t send an estimator to your house beforehand, demand cash or a large deposit up front, and/or have unrealistic low-ball offers. Make sure you know whom you’re working with before you pay any money. Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a …

— A new state law backed by AARP Kansas will help ease the transition from hospital to home for patients and their caregivers, beginning next year. The Kansas Lay Caregiver Act, also called the CARE Act, will allow every hospital patient to designate a caregiver. Hospital staff will record the caregiver’s contact information and keep that person informed about discharge plans. In addition, the hospital will prepare the caregiver for follow-up medical tasks to be done at home. About 345,000 Kansans …