— By AARP Pennsylvania State President Joanne Grossi As AARP Pennsylvania’s state president, I have the privilege of helping shape strategic priorities, building community partnerships with key decision makers and serving as AARP’s spokesperson in Pennsylvania. That means I’m fighting for you and your family on issues that matter most. I’m very proud to be part of a team of talented AARP staff and dedicated volunteers working at the state capitol and in communities statewide.  I wanted you to know our …

— Join our online Q&A sessions for tools for keeping your 2018 healthy resolutions all year What are your healthy goals for 2018? Do you want to eat healthier? Do you want a new fitness plan? Do you want to focus on better sleep? No matter what your healthy goals are—or whether you’ve even set them yet—you can learn about how to get on track and stay on track. Join our live, two-part Q&A sessions: Staying Healthy in 2018: How to …

— The PA General Assembly is currently considering legislation (SB 780 and HB 1648) that would recognize telemedicine as a solution to improving health care access. AARP PA strongly supports the proposed legislation. You can learn more about the issue below. What is Telemedicine? Telemedicine or telehealth embraces the use of computers, cellphones or other communication technology to provide patients with the health care they need, when they need it.  It doesn’t replace one-on-one, in-person interactions with a doctor, nurse or …

— As you get together with your family for the holiday season, take the time to celebrate each other, reflect on the past year, and prepare to usher in a new one. Take advantage of the family gathering to check in on each other’s health and well-being and, just as importantly, discuss the needs of loved ones who may need a family caregiver. Start the Conversation From recognizing that a loved one needs help, to determining which family members or friends …

— 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 …

— Worried about keeping the heat on? AARP Pennsylvania reminds members and their families that utility companies statewide are required to provide customer assistance programs. Individuals with monthly income up to $1,508 and couples with up to $2,030 may be eligible. For information, call the number on your electric or natural gas bill and ask specifically about the customer assistance program. For a list of utility hotlines, click here. If you don’t get a response or have a complaint, call the …

— Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be expensive. That’s why AARP Pennsylvania wants residents on fixed incomes to know they may be eligible for four $5 checks redeemable at qualified farmers markets and roadside stands, beginning June 1. The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program offers the checks to Pennsylvanians 60 and older whose annual income does not exceed $22,311 for an individual or $30,044 for a couple. The checks are distributed first …

— 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, …