— 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 …

— May is Mental Health Month and AARP Texas is focusing on people’s mental health as they age. We asked Dr. Jason Schillerstrom, an associate professor at UT Health San Antonio, about what people should know about mental health and the aging process. Schillerstrom, who is also director of the center’s Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic, says the conditions they most commonly see are depression, dementia and anxiety. But he says that people should not think of these as coming naturally with aging. …

— As we age, our eyesight and reaction time steadily declines, and in a big city like Austin, the drivers that share the road tend to be less than friendly. Public transportation lessens the risk of vehicular accidents, alleviating the stress of being behind the wheel (especially during rush hour). Pat Thomas, an Austin resident and AARP member, started a group called Roll & Stroll in 2015 to help show others the convenience and practicality of public transportation, while touring new …

5 States

— The favorite holiday of our proud state falls on Friday, March 2. While a weekend trip to the San Antonio Southside Missions is a popular way to commemorate our state’s independence, as a Texan, you’re probably not too keen on following the herd. Here are three rebellious ways that you can embrace your Texan identity and keep community close to your heart. Explore the Multicultural Lone Star State Houston was listed in 2017 as the most culturally diverse city in …

— In recognition of his work during the 2017 Regular Texas Legislative Session, state Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) was presented a Legislative Achievement Award from AARP Texas on Wednesday. With Senator Schwertner’s support, House Bill 2025 was signed into law and will ensure that nursing homes will be held accountable for harming residents. The legislation establishes broader protections against mistreatment of residents of long-term care facilities and will provide stiff penalties for repeat offenses. The legislation is seen by AARP as …

— In recognition of her work during the 2017 Regular Texas Legislative Session, state Rep. Yvonne Davis (D-Davis) has been presented a Legislative Achievement Award from AARP Texas. Davis sponsored and fought for successful passage of legislation – House Bill 2025 – that will ensure better training for those who provide care to people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Texas. HB 2025 was amended to also include the contents of another major …

— In recognition of his work during the 2017 Regular Texas Legislative Session, state Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) has been presented a Texas Legislative Leadership Award from AARP Texas, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization for older Texans. Hancock, who chairs the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, sponsored major legislation during the regular session to help combat elder financial abuse and surprise medical bills. The bills, backed by AARP, have been signed into law by the governor. A bill Hancock …

4 States

— Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey can create high levels of stress and anxiety for survivors. Research shows most recover but others can suffer psychological disorders like post-tramautic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Those who need to talk are urged to seek help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has made its disaster distress helpline available at 800-985-5990 to serve those experiencing emotional distress related to a natural …

4 States

— Federal officials have taken action to ensure that Medicare will pay for nursing homes stays for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Generally, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care. But it pays for a limited nursing home stay after someone has been hospitalized and needs rehabilitation. In those cases, Medicare reimburses for the skilled nursing services after someone has been treated in a hospital for at least three days. Last week, officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a waiver …

4 States

— To help loved ones stranded by Hurricane Harvey, federal health officials have relaxed rules dealing with how hospitals and medical providers share certain information about patients. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has given hospitals and medical providers permission to let family members know if their loved one is a patient at their facility and to talk with them about the individual’s condition and care needs. The relaxation of the HIPAA privacy rules enables easy communication between …