— 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 …

— 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 …

— By Hilary Appelman Earl Harvey moved into his 86-year-old mother’s Atlantic City home five years ago to help get her medical and financial situations in order. He knew that while his mother, who has dementia, did not need to be institutionalized, she couldn’t live alone. So Harvey, 62, a Philadelphia-based publisher who works from home, and whose three children are grown, became her full-time caregiver. “When my father died, he told me, ‘Take care of your mother,’ ” Harvey said. …

— AARP Pennsylvania wants to be sure members know that the deadline to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been extended to Dec. 31. Residents 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older, and people with disabilities 18 and older may be eligible. The annual income limits are $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters, not counting half of the applicant’s Social Security income. Last year, nearly 600,000 Pennsylvanians received rebates of as much as $975 for …

— 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 …

— 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 …

— AARP Pennsylvania is reminding Keystone Staters that the deadline to apply for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been extended until Dec. 31. The program is available to Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older, and people with disabilities 18 and older. The annual income limits are $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can …

— There are many uncomfortable issues that individuals try not to think about too much, until it impacts your family.  For many families in Pennsylvania, one of those issues is turning out to be drug addiction. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it is not the kind of drug addiction that has been immortalized as a part of the late 60’s counter-culture movement, or even the cocaine epidemic that impacted lives in the 80’s and 90’s.  This addiction crisis isn’t limited to younger people; …

— With a new AARP study showing retail prescription prices have increased six times faster than the general inflation rate since 2006, AARP Pennsylvania is reminding older residents that they can receive help paying for prescription medications from the state’s PACE and PACENET programs. According to a report released earlier this month by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI), the average annual cost of therapy for one prescription drug totals more than $11,000, which equals a startling 75% of the average …

— Today AARP Pennsylvania thanked U.S. Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA8) for endorsing a reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) during a speech yesterday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Millions of older adults rely on the OAA to live with dignity and independence in their communities by receiving age-appropriate meals, access to abuse prevention services, transportation assistance, information referrals and even opportunities to serve their communities. The OAA also saves tax dollars by keeping many seniors out …