— June is National Great Outdoors Month, a time for observing nature and enjoying our surrounding environments. Beginning as a week-long celebration of nature, we now nationally recognize the beautiful countryside, forests and parks of the United States for the entire month of June. This recognition promotes the splendor of our great outdoors and highlights the labors of those who work to preserve nature in our modern world. It raises the awareness of national policies on nature conservation by highlighting the …

— Serving in the military is giving yourself to something greater than your own wants and needs. This selflessness protects and serves us all. And while Julia Castellano-Hoyt of San Antonio may not have served in the Women’s Army Corps since 1961, she never stopped having a heart for serving others. To Julia, military service instills a desire to give back throughout one’s life. “I think when you are of the mind to serve, you don’t stop being of service,” says …

— Driving, of course, is a big part of life in Texas, including for seniors looking to maintain their independence. Older drivers could particularly see benefits from a new federal requirement mandating rearview cameras in automobiles. The mandate, which took effect in early May, requires inclusion of the cameras in cars, buses and trucks that weigh fewer than 10,000 pounds. It’s the result of a lengthy process since Congress passed a law in 2008 requiring the development of a rule regarding …

— As a passenger on Austin’s Capital Metro buses, I had seen my share of AARP ads: smiling faces and discount offers for people age 50 and over. In the classroom, AARP even surfaced on a copy editing exam. The question asked how to write the organization’s name in Associated Press Style. (It’s “AARP,” of course.) Upon applying for an internship with AARP, I saw the nonprofit social welfare organization as a familiar crimson logo, neatly contained. In the year since …

— Austin-area residents can learn how to decide, discuss and document their end-of-life wishes at two events this month. AARP Texas is hosting The 3 Ds of Advance Care Planning on consecutive Saturdays, June 16 and 23. The first session will include a screening of the PBS Frontline documentary Being Mortal—followed by a discussion on making and communicating end-of-life decisions and choosing people who can follow through. The second session will focus on the “discuss” and “document” aspects of the process …

— Since April, new Medicare cards have been hitting mailboxes to combat fraud. The new cards replace the Social Security numbers with a Medicare number unique to each member. Though removing Social Security numbers is a step in the right direction to fight identity theft, con artists have been using this change as an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting Medicare members. Con artists may try to coerce you into providing information through the phone. There have been several instances of …

— Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) celebrates the accomplishments and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This national recognition helps to garner awareness for a minority often underrepresented in American culture. Today, Asian and Pacific Islanders make up around 4% of the total population in Texas. However, they are the fastest growing racial group in the state, with nearly 30% more growth than the closest ethnicity group. America is enriched through the contributions of Asian Americans, …

— 65,000 Americans will experience a stroke this month, but fewer than 1 in 5 can correctly identify the signs. Why are strokes a leading cause of adult long-term disability, and who is at risk? We asked survivors, the CEO of the American Stroke Association and several medically licensed stroke support group leaders to find out. When Kazue Kikuchi experienced a life-threatening stroke, her world went dark. Impaired vision and disorientation overcame her at the office one day, landing her in …

— May marks Elder Abuse Prevention Month in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott’s proclamation aims to bring awareness to potential risks for older Texans, in the hopes of inspiring change in Texas. Change is already underway. House Bill 3921, which went to effect last September, grants employees of financial institutions the ability to report suspected financial exploitation. The bipartisan law also allows banks and other financial service providers to place a temporary hold on suspicious transactions to combat the misappropriation of funds. …

— May is ALS Awareness Month, a time where we focus our attention on a disease that affects more than 20,000 Americans at any given time. It is also a time to honor those the disease is affecting, and those we have lost. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that progressively weakens muscles, hindering movement and communication. Because of the lack of communication from the motor neurons, muscle control slowly deteriorates. Symptoms differ from case to case. The damage …