— 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 …

— State legislators will be back in session in May, and AARP North Carolina is gearing up to advocate for the state’s 1.3 million unpaid family caregivers, who save the state money on long-term care costs. Topping the legislative agenda is the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which would allow every hospital patient to designate a family caregiver—and would require hospitals to make reasonable efforts to show caregivers how to perform medical tasks their loved ones will need at home. …

— Loneliness isn’t just joyless. It can shorten your life, increasing the risk of premature death by 30 percent. That’s why AARP North Carolina has teamed up with the YMCA of Western North Carolina to sponsor the Disrupt Aging Community Health Challenge. The challenge aims to reduce social isolation while helping participants achieve their personal health goals. For details about the challenge and a calendar of events, go to DisruptAgingChallenge.org. To read about other efforts to make Buncombe County increasingly age-friendly, …

— Join us for two live webcasts and get answers to your questions. Do you have questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment? Get your answers live! Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling, the two-part Q&A series from AARP Learn@50+ provides answers about the 2018 enrollment process. In part one, AARP’s experts will review the Open Enrollment period (Nov. 1 to Dec. 15) and answer your questions about the process. In part two, the AARP team will lead a …

— Join us for two live Medicare webcasts and get answers to your questions Do you have questions about Medicare coverage and plan options? Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or entering open enrollment, the two-part Medicare Q&A series from Learn@50+ can get you answers about your 2017 plan options. In part one, AARP’s Medicare expert Susan Lutz will review the different parts of Medicare and answer your questions about enrollment periods for new Medicare recipients and open enrollment rules for …

— RALEIGH — To help make North Carolina communities more livable for people of all ages, AARP NC awarded three “Community Challenge” grants to organizations working to expand opportunities and engagement for all residents. A livable community is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and offers supportive community features and services. Once in place, those resources enhance personal independence; allow residents to age in place; and foster residents’ engagement in the community’s civic, …

— Making it easier for licensed nurses to practice in NC Legislation to allow nurses to practice in any state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact passed the North Carolina General Assembly last week. AARP helped push for the legislation that maintains patient safety and quality of care while making it easier for nurses to practice in our state. It allows licensed nurses from other states to practice in North Carolina without having to get re-licensed. The passage of …

— CHARLOTTE — AARP in Charlotte is presenting a series of free workshops this month to help people prepare the challenges of caregiving and long-term care as well as an overview of Medicare, from how to choose a plan and the benefits Medicare offers, to what changes to the program may come in the future. The events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Prepare to Care This workshop includes information on how to have vital conversations …

— Medicare isn’t there for you only when you’re sick. The health care program offers a slew of preventive services as well, including immunizations for older patients, who are especially vulnerable to influenza. The AARP Protect Medicare van is crisscrossing North Carolina this summer, reminding residents of the benefits Medicare offers and the battle to defend it. Preventive services under Medicare include screenings for colorectal cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. The program covers flu shots because influenza can …

— By Jim Buchanan Here in North Carolina, through painful experience, we know a thing or two about floods. With a flood, most of the focus – necessarily – is on not being swept away in the turbulent waters. But there’s more than the rushing waters. There’s what’s beneath – who knows what kind of contaminants picked up in the deluge, who knows what kinds of creepy-crawlies lurking beneath. That’s the way it is with Washington these days. The normal trickle …