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.

Journey of Caregiving: Feeding Tubes, Juggling Medication and More

Even with her training as a nurse, family caregiver Joanne Davis says she doesn’t feel equipped to handle certain tasks as she cares for her husband. “I think of people who are in a situation who don’t have that sort of experience and I don’t know how they manage,” she says. And yet, nearly half of the 42 million family caregivers in America perform medical and nursing tasks to care for their loved ones. This can be managing medications, cleaning …

Thank You, Nurses, for ALL You Do

As National Nurses Week concludes, I want to take a moment and thank all nurses — past, present, and future — for all that you do. I know firsthand the importance of nurses not only to patients, but to their families. During the 15 years I cared for my parents, nurses made a huge difference in our lives. There’s no doubt, caregiving takes a team, and so often nurses were a part of my family’s team. I also know that …

Another State Expands Medicaid: Win for 70,000 More Americans

Today I have great news to share: Gov. Steve Bullock has signed the Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act into law, giving 70,000 hardworking Montanans access to affordable health coverage. Until now, tens of thousands who had lost their jobs or were struggling in jobs without health benefits had no access to affordable healthcare — Michele was one of them. For years, Michele felt like she was walking a razor’s edge not having health insurance. She didn’t go …

Zorro Lunch Box or Retirement Account, How Are You Saving for Your Future?

Growing up, I could tell  when my Pop was coming home from work by hearing the jingling of change in his pockets. And, every night before he sat down for family dinner, Pop would go to the basement and empty the contents of his pockets into a Zorro lunch box for safekeeping. Mom and Pop were devoted savers — Pop in his lunch box and Mom in her Christmas Club account at the bank. One day Pop announced, “It’s time …

Does your state support services for older Americans, family caregivers?

Family caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion in unpaid care annually, helping their older parents, spouses and others to live independently at home—and out of costly institutional care, often paid for by Medicaid. But now, in a number of states as governors and legislatures negotiate their state’s annual budgets, critical assistance on which family caregivers and their loved ones rely on is at risk. Proposed cuts to home care, adult day services, meals-on-wheels and more have real consequences for families. …

Family Caregivers Share Stories, Speak Out For Change

As I work with states across the country, I’ve had the honor of meeting some amazing family caregivers who are standing up and fighting for the support they need. Each time, I am touched deeply by the remarkable and personal stories I hear, like Janet’s. Janet lives in Oregon, and knows firsthand the challenges caregivers face every day.  Six years ago Janet left her job as a television film producer for a true labor of love—to care for her step-father …