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.

Moments That Keep Caregivers Strong

This week, like so many others, I was deeply touched by a precious moment — captured on video — between Georgia resident Kelly Gunderson and her 87-year-old mother, Daphne, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. As mother and daughter converse, lying side by side in what appears to be a hospital bed, Daphne recognizes her daughter — for the first time in a long while. Having been a family caregiver myself, I know moments like this keep us strong and help …

When Utility Companies Want to Raise Your Rates …

Meet Shirlee C. of South Minneapolis. As a senior on a fixed income, she takes a financial hit every time her utility rate increases. She can’t afford for her bill to keep going up, but her utility company, Xcel Energy, is asking for another $123 a year by 2016. If approved, this would be the seventh rate increase for Minnesotans in just 10 years! Shirlee, and all Americans, should have to pay only what is reasonable for reliable service — and …

10 Tips for Caregivers From Caregivers

As I cared for my parents, helping them to live independently at home as they aged, I learned to listen to the learnings of other family caregivers. Recently, I shared 5 Tips for Caregivers and asked others for their views on our @AARPAdvocates Facebook page. The comments from fellow caregivers came flooding in. While I wish I could share them all, here are 10 tips from caregivers to caregivers: 1. Be patient. Nan: “Patience followed by more patience.” Rae: “Patience! Lots …

A Tale of Two Americas

Today’s sobering statistic: Almost 20 percent of people ages 55 to 64 have no retirement savings. And even among those who have saved, millions are facing a retirement “deficit” – meaning they will outlive their retirement savings by $57,000 on average per household. Why does that matter to the rest of us? Because if millions of older adults haven’t saved enough to be self-sufficient in retirement, they will end up turning to government safety net services – a costly proposition …

39 States and Counting: Caregiving Across State Lines

I was a long-distance caregiver for my parents for nearly 15 years. Through illness, surgery and rehabilitation, I helped them stay out of institutional care, like a nursing home, and instead remain at home - where they wanted to be. During this time, I purchased my house on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with my parents in mind – hoping that Mom and Pop could come to the Cape from New York, enjoy time by the seashore, and get some rest and …

5 Tips for Family Caregivers

I recently spent a weekend with eight of my college roommates for our annual get-together. Through the years we’ve always shared our life events, so it came as no surprise that our conversation turned to the topic of family caregiving. Like millions of fiftysomething women in the U.S. today, my former roomies are struggling to navigate the health care system on behalf of their parents – who now turn to them for help. “Information is power,” I told them. “So let …