— By Christina Hernandez Sherwood Two years ago, Lorri Smalls left South Carolina for New Jersey to help care for her aunt, Terri Ago, who is in her 70s. The women share an apartment in East Orange and Smalls, 44, accompanies Ago to doctor appointments, cooks meals, mends clothes and assists her aunt with other needs. Smalls said she volunteered for this role out of love, but has spent thousands of dollars along the way. “Caregiving is a compassionate gift that …

— By Christina Hernandez Sherwood When Ed McFadden, 66, retired from his job as director of operations for an outsourcing company in October 2015, he and his wife moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey’s Sea Isle City. Their decision to make the Garden State their retirement home isn’t typical. With its high taxes and housing costs, the state is traditionally seen as one of the worst for retirees. But a tax change strongly supported by AARP New Jersey and signed into …

— AARP New Jersey applauds the enactment of legislation which will create the New Jersey Task Force on Abuse Against the Elderly and Disabled. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill on Monday, May 23.  “AARP applauds Governor Christie for signing this important bill into law,” said AARP New Jersey State Director Stephanie Hunsinger. Hunsinger added that “AARP also commends the hard work of the sponsors and supporters of the New Jersey Task Force on Abuse Against the Elderly and Disabled.” The …

— By Aliya S. King When it comes to driving, Belinda Jackson was a late bloomer. “My friends began driving as soon as they could,” Jackson said. “I had so many friends with cars that I had no incentive to learn to drive.” At 23, she decided to get her license, and more than 30 years later, Jackson remained confident in her driving skills. But she decided to take the online version of the AARP Smart Driver course to save money …

— More than three years since Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey, residents are still battling the fallout, including power companies’ demands to raise rates to repair and upgrade infrastructure. On behalf of consumers, AARP New Jersey is fighting unreasonable rate hikes. Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) proposed a $1.6 billion increase to replace aging, leaky cast-iron gas pipes with stronger plastic lines. Amid pressure from AARP and other consumer advocates, PSE&G agreed to scale back the project to $905 million. …

— Long standing AARP member and Princeton native Anthony Cifelli recalls what it was like when his mother, Angeline Cifelli, would put up young women who were visiting Princeton University for football weekends before the school was coeducational. “I remember, because we’d get kicked out of our bedrooms,” Anthony recalled. Matriarch of the family, Mrs. Cifelli celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this month with five generations of relatives. Born Angeline Pinelli on November 16, 1915, Mrs. Cifelli has lived in Princeton …

Boomer caregiver

— More than 3,000 CARE ACT CARDS have flown out of our doors so far. DO YOU HAVE YOURS?   Send your mailing address to us at aarpnj@aarp.org and we will drop yours in the mail TODAY! The CARE Act means a whole new set of rights are due to you as family caregiver for a loved one in the hospital. This wallet card will help make sure you know what those rights are. REQUEST YOUR CARD TODAY! Email us aarpnj@aarp.org to get …

— About 1.1 million utility customers in the Garden State are getting a pleasant surprise: a rate decrease. Some may have been bracing for higher bills, as Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) sought to recover costs of rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by storms. But after testimony by AARP members and other consumer advocates, the Board of Public Utilities found that JCP&L had been overcharging customers and ordered the utility to reduce rates by $115 million annually, more than offsetting the utility’s …

— By Christina Hernandez Sherwood Susan Zebrowski has been her mother’s primary caregiver since the older woman received a diagnosis of bone marrow cancer more than two years ago. Along with household duties, Zebrowski sees to her mother’s needs by giving her medications, taking her to doctor visits and monitoring her condition. Zebrowski, 59, of Mansfield Township, has had to figure out much of this on her own. When her mother, Matilda Albert, 85, was discharged after hospital stays, care instructions …

— About 9 out of 10 Americans age 50-plus want to remain in their homes as they age, according to AARP research. To help more New Jerseyans achieve that goal, the state has removed a barrier that previously kept many elderly and disabled people from qualifying for Medicaid coverage of in-home services such as help with bathing or preparing meals. In the past, state residents needing long-term care could spend down their savings to become eligible for Medicaid in a nursing …