Going After Food Waste and Systems Change

I highly recommend the recent award-winning documentary Just Eat It, which is at once shocking, entertaining and thought-provoking. Filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer spent six months living only on food that was being discarded for reasons that had nothing to do with edibility. Simply put, it’s a film about the shameful amount of food waste in America. Perhaps no other issue better highlights the fact that links in our food supply chain are broken. According to the U.S. Department …

What the Spending Bill Means for Older Americans

The $1.1 trillion spending bill will do more than keep the federal government open well into next year. Nearly half of the appropriations will go toward non-defense programs, and in some cases, the bill directs more money to programs that benefit the lives of Americans age 50 and up. “This bill not only avoids the deep cuts to scores of critical programs, it provides noteworthy increases for many services critical to older Americans, including health, nutrition and caregiver services, as …

4 Tips for Difficult Family Conversations

It’s that time of year when many families gather for holiday celebrations and check in on loved ones. It can be a tough combo, creating a celebratory mood while also dealing with serious family issues. I get a lot of questions from family caregivers about how to handle difficult conversations that come up around sensitive topics such as driving, personal care, housework and finances. Here are my top tips for setting up a successful conversation. Observe before you act. Before …

Veterans Day: A Time for Caring and Giving Thanks

Today we honor the American veterans who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the freedoms we sometimes take for granted are maintained and secured. We thank them for placing their lives on the line, asking for nothing in return. We also thank those who care for our veterans when they return from duty in need of physical and emotional care. Being a caregiver can be overwhelming and daunting, especially when it happens all of a sudden and you are not …

How AARP Helped One Homeless Vet

John Cherry had no job, no money, no home. What he did have were debilitating health problems and drug and alcohol addictions. “I hit rock bottom,” says the 60-year-old Washington, D.C., resident. But a year later the Navy veteran is on a path lined with hope. Guided by the Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE), an affiliate of AARP, Cherry secured a $1,400 monthly pension he was entitled to through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs plus more than $12,000 …

What They Saw in Me

When I was 8 years old, my teacher told my parents that I was failing third grade, that I was mentally retarded (a label used frequently in those days) and that I was essentially unteachable. Thankfully, she didn’t have the last word. Three adults in my neighborhood – a barber, a Methodist minister and a friend’s mother – saw something in me that neither my teacher nor my parents could see. With their strong encouragement and even stronger discipline, I …