A Warm Atmosphere at a Hypothermia Shelter

Soft, melodic piano chords fill the sanctuary of the Church of St. Clement in Alexandria, Va., early one morning. I get up from my cot to investigate. A man is thoughtfully creating music on the church piano. He pauses between chords, listening, thinking. “That’s beautiful,” I tell him. “You must be a professional.” Yes, he was, the former hip-hop musician tells me. He continues, speaking softly, gesturing with his hands. “Creating music is like building with Legos. It’s all about building …

For Family Caregivers, Love Is More Than Chocolate and Roses

Valentine’s Day may be over, but 42 million Americans continue to give their hearts each and every day. They are family caregivers who help parents, spouses, aunts, uncles and other loved ones to live independently at home, where they want to be. For these unsung heroes, love goes beyond chocolate and roses — and their labor of love means driving to doctor’s appointments, cooking, cleaning, helping bathe and dress their loved ones, managing medications, performing medical tasks and more. Gwen …

There’s No Shame in the Senior Discounts Game

You can remove the girl out of the flirt, but not the flirt out of the woman. Thus, when an extremely attractive gentleman hovered near the department store counter and the sister ringing up my purchase announced all loud that there was a 15 percent discount for senior citizens, I demurred. I was buying a $25 lipstick and wasn’t about to blow my cover with cutie pie for a discount of less than five bucks. After a bunch of winking and …

Helping to End Poverty, One Person at a Time

“What does the world need me to do?” When Mark Bergel, 51, asked himself that question, his answer was to start A Wider Circle, a nonprofit in Silver Spring, Md., that provides everything from furniture to job training and clothing to support those in need. Now, 13 years later, Bergel, who serves as the organization’s executive director, is on a mission: End poverty in America. As I sort and fold donated baby clothes in the organization’s huge warehouse, Bergel, a 2014 CNN …

No Silver Bullet: Lessons From International Programs for Financing Long-Term Services and Supports

Life spans are increasing around the world, but countries differ enormously in how they deal with increasing demands for long-term services and supports (LTSS). AARP International recently sponsored a policy symposium on the LTSS systems in Germany, France and the United Kingdom to inform important discussions about how to reform the U.S. system. As AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman noted in her opening remarks, the costs associated with LTSS represent the largest uninsured risk to the retirement security of …

The Town of Boomer, W.Va.

People in the boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, are celebrating the 50th birthdays of their youngest members in 2014. To mark this event, AARP asked Washington, D.C.-based photographer Jared Soares to explore Boomer, W.Va. To get to Boomer, follow the Kanawha River southeast from Charleston, West Virginia’s capital city, for about 30 miles. With a population of nearly 600 people, Boomer rests on Historic Route 60, part of the Midland Trail National Scenic Highway. In the early 1900s, the town saw rapid growth when Boomer …