— By Tim Poor Zoia Martin has been taking care of her mother since 2008. “It’s very hard at times,” said Martin, particularly because her 80-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s disease, is blind and doesn’t sleep through the night. “You get exhausted from lack of sleep and rest,” she said. Although the stress can be overwhelming, Martin, of Cape Girardeau, is comforted by the knowledge that she’s not alone and that help is available. She attends Caregiving Conferences sponsored by AARP Missouri …

— AARP members and their friends are invited to participate in hikes and bike rides in the St. Louis area from June through November. Trail Trekkers explores nature trails throughout the region. The hikes average three miles, and every participant gets a complimentary backpack. This month’s hike is Saturday, June 16, starting at 8 a.m., at Klondike Park. This month’s Boomers and Bikes ride is Saturday, June 23, 9 a.m.-noon, at Mississippi River Trail at Cliff Cave Park. The events are …

— By Tim Poor Dessa Paris has been cycling seriously for more than two decades, but it was just two years ago that she decided to share her passion with other older adults. The result was Boomers and Bikes, an AARP-sponsored program in which Paris leads cyclists age 50-plus on monthly scenic tours in the St. Louis area. The program, free for AARP members and guests, is great exercise for participants and also benefits Paris, 56. “It’s given me the opportunity …

4 States

— Do you know an exceptional 50+ volunteer in Missouri? Show your appreciation by nominating him or her for the 2018 AARP Missouri Andrus Award for Community Service. AARP’s most prestigious Missouri volunteer award recognizes individuals who are sharing their experience, talent and skills in ways that significantly enrich the lives of others. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding individuals who are making a powerful difference in their communities in ways that advance AARP’s mission, vision, and commitment …

— AARP Missouri is cohosting a Caregivers Conference in St. Louis in cooperation with Christian Hospital Auxiliary and Christian Hospital Foundation. The event aims to support family caregivers and provide information about resources that can help with transportation, shopping, meal preparation and other needs. Amy Goyer, a caregiving expert and author of Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving, published by AARP and the American Bar Association, will deliver the keynote address. The conference is Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 …

— For two years, AARP Missouri has fought for legislation that could help family caregivers when a relative is in a hospital or about to come home. The bill stalled in committee in 2016 and 2017. Under the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, hospitals would record family caregivers’ contact information, keep them informed when their loved one is about to be transferred or discharged, and instruct them about medical care needed at home. At least 38 states have enacted similar …

— More than 22,000 Missourians reported they were victims of identity theft in 2015, giving the state the highest rate of complaints per capita in the nation. With Operation Stop Scams closely following this year’s April 18 tax filing deadline, the time is ripe for people to get rid of documents they no longer need. AARP Missouri is sponsoring free shredding events in Kansas City on April 22 and Springfield, April 29. Anyone can participate, but there is a limit of …

— By Tim Poor Don Smith had never heard of jicama. Dennis Gibbons didn’t care for kale. But both men had their culinary worlds expanded through “What’s Cookin’ with AARP,” a series of free cooking classes being offered in the Springfield and Kansas City areas. “Coming from a meat-and- potatoes background, it really has opened my eyes to so many different styles of cooking,” said Smith, 68, a retired teacher and AARP community advocate who lives in Battlefield. Jicama, a root …

— Caregivers Together, a local support group in Carthage, meets monthly to offer family caregivers in the area an opportunity to share stories with others facing the same challenges. Founded by AARP volunteer Jinny Hopp, the group also shares tips on how to balance your own life and work with the tasks required to meet an aging loved one’s needs. “It’s the small things that can matter the most,” said Hopp. “Talking with others who have solutions based on their own …

— Once she started walking, Loretta Davis didn’t want to stop. Davis has been leading walking tours in St. Louis as an AARP volunteer for three years. She has started a program of longer hikes around the metropolitan area, called the Outdoor Adventure Group. “I had an idea about hiking trails and talked it over with my state director,” she said. “They even allowed me to name the group.” The last hike of the year is Satur­day, Nov. 19, at Lone …