Elaine Ryan is the vice president of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) in AARP's Government Affairs group. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with Governors and state legislators, helping people 50+ attain and maintain their long-term financial security and health.

Follow Elaine on Twitter: @RoamTheDomes.

Rising Utility Rates Put Seniors at Risk

As we enter the heart of summer, the temperature isn’t the only thing on the rise — utility bills are increasing, too. For seniors especially, keeping cool in these hot summer months isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity for health and safety — one that can be hard to afford for some. As my colleague Joan McCarty of AARP New York simplifies it, “every extra dollar that goes to a utility bill is a dollar less for food and …

Making Caregiving Across State Lines Easier

Imagine you’re a caregiver for your mom, who lives in Oregon. You, however, live in North Carolina. As your mother’s health declines, you become her legal guardian in Oregon, making decisions about her property, medical care and living arrangements. The process of becoming your mom’s legal guardian was not only time consuming but costly. Now your mother wants to move to North Carolina to be closer to you. North Carolina won’t recognize a guardianship order from Oregon, so you will …

Family Caregivers Shouldn’t Have to Go It Alone

When State Representative Elaine Harvey’s mother-in-law moved in with her she was also raising a two-year-old, four-year-old, seven-year-old, nine-year-old, and had little help from the outside. One day a week a public health nurse came to help bathe her mother-in-law, and that was it.  “Essentially we were on our own,” she says. Family caregivers shouldn’t have to do it alone.  Today as a legislator, Rep. Harvey tries to “increase and encourage support” for family caregivers so they can have the …

The Heroes Who Care for Our Heroes

As the Fourth of July approaches, Americans from coast to coast are preparing for barbecues, parades and fireworks as we celebrate our country’s birthday — and our independence. At this time of year, I like to take a moment to recognize our patriots — the veterans who have fought to keep our country safe and free. I also think about another group of heroes, the family caregivers — spouses, parents, siblings, adult children and others — who care for our …

Pop’s Critical Role as Caregiver During Mom’s Brain Surgery

This weekend we all had the opportunity to celebrate our fathers. As I remembered my Pop — a funny, hardworking, unselfish man — I thought about his devotion to my mom, especially during their later lives when he was her primary caregiver. He shouldered huge responsibilities that I think weighed heavily on his mind. I remembered the time, several days before Mom had brain surgery, Pop opened his wallet and handed me a small piece of paper. “It’s the anesthesia …

CARE Act: Help for Family Caregivers is Here

This week, New Mexico becomes the fifth state in the nation to implement the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act.  Passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Martinez, the Lay Caregiver Act, a version of the CARE Act, is a commonsense solution to help those caring for their older mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and other loved ones so they can live independently. The law ensures family caregivers have key support as their loved ones go into …