— AARP is here to help you take on today – and every day. From sharing practical resources, to holding fun activities and events, AARP is providing opportunities to connect and help build an even stronger North Carolina. We hope you’ll join us!

— By Sue Price Johnson Long-term care in the state—from in-home services to institutional care—ranks 38th in the nation, according to a recent survey. AARP North Carolina, the state Department of Health and Human Services and other organizations are working to upgrade that performance. They support legislation that helps improve the quality of care and are educating the public about issues such as tighter oversight of facilities and the high cost of care. Families seeking long-term care for a relative often …

— By Michelle Crouch Deb Wagner, 65, retired recently and is back on a budget for the first time in years. So when she heard that insurance carriers wanted to raise home policy rates an average of 18.7 percent across the state, she was not happy. “That much of a rate increase is going to have a big impact on people on a fixed income,” said Wagner, who lives in Swannanoa. “I don’t understand how they are justifying this request. We …

— This year, the number of North Carolinians 60 and older is likely to exceed those under 18. That makes AARP North Carolina’s work even more relevant, especially in certain western counties, where projections show residents 65-plus could be about a third of the population by 2030. AARP North Carolina is hosting workshops and community events in the state’s Mountain Region to help residents save for retirement, locate caregiver resources, find jobs, and stay physically and socially active. Volunteers are critical …

— 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 …

— Do you have room for major North Carolina homeowners and rental insurance rate hike? Guest Commentary by Jim Buchanan   Most North Carolinians don’t appear to be very upset about a potential budget-busting increase in homeowners insurance in 2018. The reason for that appears to be that most North Carolinians have no idea it may be coming. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced in November that the North Carolina Rate Bureau filed for a statewide average rate increase of …

— 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, …

— By Michelle Crouch Douglas Sherrow, a severely disabled Army veteran in Mint Hill, struggles to make ends meet on his military pension and Social Security. He and his wife are raising two grandchildren, and he said they’ve racked up thousands in credit card debt over four years. “I’ve never been in the hole this far,” said Sherrow, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a walker. “Taxes keep going up, and my ability to pay them is going down.” Sherrow, 69, …

— By Michelle Crouch Rob Cooley knows that keeping his 40 employees happy is crucial to the long-term success of his business, two Apple Annie’s Bake Shops in Wilmington. But it’s tough for small-business owners to offer the same benefits as larger companies, he said, especially when it comes to retirement. “Setting up some kind of retirement plan is just cost prohibitive,” said Cooley, 49, who is also a co-owner of a beer and wine store with his family. “Small businesses …

— Did you know that AARP offers workshops every week in the Charlotte region? Whether you’re an AARP member or not, over 50 or not, all of our programs are free of charge, free of any sales pitches, and all geared towards helping you achieve real possibilities. This summer we began offering our programs at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery! Come have a beverage on us and take advantage of our informative programs led by our dedicated facilitators!   Life Reimagined The life …