— By Cristina Rouvalis Jane Johnson’s hands and knuckles are so swollen from her arthritis that she can no longer wear her rings and perform simple every­day tasks. “I can’t open a bag of potato chips,” she said. “My hands hurt when I drive.” The 75-year-old retired teacher dreaded driving for an hour and a half from her home in rural Franklin to a recommended specialist in Pittsburgh. Instead of traveling such a long distance, she drives seven miles down the …

— ICYMI: AARP in Your Community – Pittsburgh Park Ambassador Program This summer, AARP PA and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation of Pittsburgh are teaming up to help get older adults moving outdoors. Group walks in local parks are planned by the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, Venture Outdoors, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Area AARP volunteers will serve as Park Ambassadors for the program and lead regular outings for older adults in South Park and Frick Park. PrideFest Back in June, AARP …

— Mayoral Roundtable AARP is working to make the cities of the Lehigh Valley the best place to live for people of all ages.  On June 7, AARP hosted Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez, and Easton Mayor Sal Panto for a unique conversation focused on improving the livability of their communities.  Dr. Rodney Harrell, the Director of the Office of Livability Thought Leadership in AARP’s Public Policy Institute, moderated the event, which was attended by 75 community leaders …

— By Cristina Rouvalis When a sales representative for an electricity supply company came to her Greens­burg home in 2013 promising lower bills, Ronel Baccus said she would consider it. Although she never signed up, she said the alternative energy supplier switched her service over without her knowledge. Baccus, 51, suffered sticker shock as her electric bills climbed from $60 to $260 a month. She has asked the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project to help her get a refund for those higher …

5 States

— More than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians care for older parents, spouses or other loved ones, helping them to live independently in their own homes. These family caregivers have a huge responsibility, and on April 20, 2017, a new law takes effect that will make life a little bit easier for them. The CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act helps family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The CARE Act requires hospitals to: Provide …

— AARP Pennsylvania hosted an exclusive Mayoral Roundtable on Livability & Aging in the Lehigh Valley on June 7.  Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez and Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Jr. came together with residents and community leaders to discuss how communities can prepare for an aging population and steps they are taking to make their cities more livable for residents of all ages.   For the Morning Call’s coverage of the event, which includes a short video and …

— By Hilary Appelman Every other Wednesday, Sandra Fair shows up at a community center in West Philadelphia to wash and chop vegetables to make soup. The recipes vary—minestrone, vegetarian chili, and kale and chickpea stew are favorites—but the camaraderie and mission are the same. The soup is distributed to hundreds of older residents, promoting both nutrition and a sense of community. Fair, 65, a former machine operator and concessions manager, said her participation in the Food & Company soup project, …

— State Senate Approval of Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners Praised by AARP Pennsylvania AARP Pennsylvania praised members of the state Senate for approving legislation that will improve access to health care services by granting full practice authority to the state’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Senate Bill 25, sponsored by State Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), passed by a 39-10 vote on April 26 and will allow qualified APRNs to practice independently in their field of specialty after completing a …

— Medicare Voucher Proposal Will Increase Health Care Costs for Older Pennsylvanians By Joanne Grossi and Bill Johnston-Walsh Major changes being considered by our elected officials in Washington could dramatically increase costs for Pennsylvania’s 2.3 million older adults currently counting on Medicare benefits for their health care needs. That’s because some on Capitol Hill are proposing to replace Medicare’s guaranteed benefits with a voucher program as a way to reduce health care costs.  The voucher program, sometimes known as premium support, …

— By Cristina Rouvalis In the past seven years, Maryann Filippello’s husband, Frank, has been treated for a heart attack, two strokes, diabetes, urinary tract infections and other ailments. Now bedridden, Frank Filippello, 74, was once so vibrant he managed and supervised several levels of concession stands at Philadelphia Flyers games and other events. “It’s extremely difficult for me, but I prefer to have him home. I watch everything,” said Maryann, 72, his wife of 50 years. Her caregiver role is …