Best Life

Barbranda Lumpkins Walls is a features editor for AARP Media who spotlights everyday people doing exceptional things. These folks might not make national news, but they deserve a shout-out. She loves pop culture — especially food, fashion, television and R&B music. Family, friends and spirituality play important roles in her life. And traffic.

Elizabeth Dole Receives Andrus Award, AARP’s Highest Honor

Elizabeth Dole has received the 2014 Ethel Percy Andrus Award, AARP’s highest honor, for her support of military family caregivers. The leader of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and former U.S. senator, Cabinet member and president of the American Red Cross accepted the award at a dinner March 11 in Washington. Dole’s foundation aims to strengthen services for those caregivers — the nation’s “hidden heroes,” she calls them — through innovation, evidence-based research and partnerships across all sectors. In presenting the …

Reaching Across Party Lines to Support Caregivers

Members of Congress announced Tuesday the formation of the Assisting Caregivers Today caucus, a bipartisan coalition that aims to bring more attention to the plight of family caregivers. With the support of AARP and more than 20 other national organizations, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) had an afternoon news conference to announce their efforts to provide more help for people to live independently as well as to …

Tampa Forum Kicks Off Conversations on Aging

“Make this a national conversation,” Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, urged participants in Tampa at the first in a series of five regional forums preparing for the White House Conference on Aging this summer. The invitation-only forums allow older Americans and those who work with and for them an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on various issues. Discussions aim to form a vision and agenda for the White House conference, held in Washington …

Tracing a Family Tree, From Harlem to China

Paula Williams Madison is the epitome of success: Vassar College grad, award-winning journalist, former TV executive, entrepreneur, community activist. But the Harlem native was also driven toward another goal — finding more about the Chinese grandfather she never knew. Madison, 62, details her multicultural family odyssey in her new book, Finding Samuel Lowe, due April 14. A documentary by the same name is making its rounds at film festivals, including a recent screening at the International Black History Month celebration …

Helping the Disabled, One Invention at a Time

In this season of thanks and giving, Bill Deimling of Cincinnati considers himself one of the lucky ones. That’s because he gets to give more than he receives. Deimling, 72, is a cofounder of May We Help, a Cincinnati-based volunteer organization that creates custom-designed devices to help people with disabilities live more independently. The Army veteran and retired mold maker is clear about the group’s mission: “We don’t do home improvements — anybody can do that. And we don’t make …

A New Washington Memorial Just for Disabled Vets

In June 1969, Dennis Joyner was a 20-year-old soldier on patrol in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta when he encountered a land mine that ripped off his legs and an arm. He had only been in the war-torn country 32 days. Now 66, Joyner has learned to navigate life over the years from a wheelchair and is one of the nation’s more than 3 million disabled vets. He will also be among the crowds at the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled …