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.

Nurses Are Lifesavers

My pop, like many family caregivers, used his ingenuity to solve problems. This time, Pop was trying to figure out an easier way to help my mom out of her wheelchair and into bed. Pop was in his 90s, and anything would make it easier on him. So he rigged up a ramp from cinder blocks and particle board. If he could get her chair going at the right speed and right angle, he could run up the ramp and …

Breaking News: N.J. Legislature Passes CARE Act to Support Family Caregivers

BREAKING UPDATE 11/13/14:  Gov. Chris Christie signed the CARE Act into Law.     Just minutes ago, the New Jersey Assembly passed the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act. Already approved by the Senate without a single no vote, the CARE Act now heads to Gov. Chris Christie for his signature. Once enacted, it will support the 1.75 million family caregivers in New Jersey as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. What is the CARE Act? The …

Family Caregivers, Like Superheroes, Need a Break

“I’m so tired, even my health has gone down due to stress. I love my mom … but with my health issues, all I do is cry alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, can’t breathe … nothing seems OK.” —Ruby Ruby is one of 42 million family caregivers across the country who provide an invaluable resource in caring for an older loved one. Many are on call 24 hours a day – just like a superhero. They serve as accountant, …

Momentum Builds to Close Health Coverage Gap

When you’re sick, what do you do? A. Nothing, B. Call a doctor, or C. Go to the E.R.? Every day, millions of hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs or are struggling in jobs without health coverage choose A. Nothing. That is, until their condition gets so bad they are forced to choose C. and go to the ER. Without affordable health coverage, paying for a doctor’s appointment is just too expensive, and the necessities of daily living like …

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 …