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Fighting For You Every Day

When Jim Mangi first became a caregiver to his wife, Kathleen Schmidt, who has Alzheimer’s, he says he felt like many other caregivers.

“Completely unprepared. Clueless,” recalled Mangi, 75, of Saline, Michigan. “I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know where to turn.”

One year ago today, President Joe Biden announced a sweeping executive order on caregiving to help make it easier for people like Mangi. The order recognizes family caregivers as a national priority and aims to better include and support them through federal programs.

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Millions of people across the country may lose internet access next month when federal funding runs out for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). But AARP continues its fight to keep the internet discount program going.

We wrote to congressional lawmakers last week urging them to include the ACP as part of legislation that would restore the federal government’s ability to auction the rights to radio frequencies to commercial entities.

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Expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services can help ensure older adults have access to the health care they need. But it’s also one way the federal government can ease the strain on family caregivers, AARP wrote in comments submitted to congressional lawmakers this week.

“Telehealth may offer working or long-distance family caregivers an alternative way to participate in their loved one’s medical care,” we wrote. “By reducing travel, wait times and costs associated with in-person care, telehealth can also allow caregivers more time to tend to their own needs, which can alleviate some of the stress linked with balancing caregiving responsibilities with other obligations.”

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In a major win for thousands of older West Virginians, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed into law an AARP-backed bill that will phase out the state tax on Social Security benefits.

The law immediately cuts the tax for all residents receiving benefits by 35 percent retroactive to Jan. 1. The tax will be lowered by 65 percent in 2025 and then eliminated in 2026. State lawmakers approved the bill in early March. Our volunteers and staff joined Justice for a bill signing ceremony last week.

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States have a new AARP-supported playbook to help them close the digital divide and provide affordable and reliable internet to everyone, including older adults.

AARP worked with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to sponsor the creation of a manual that highlights models, best practices and real-life examples to support states implementing digital equity programs.

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Seven AARP projects are up for 2024 Webby awards for excellence on the internet — and we need your votes.

AARP nominees, chosen from among 13,000 entries worldwide, include our in-depth look at nursing home transfer trauma, our video featuring grandma chefs at a New York City restaurant and our latest TikTok series celebrating the “middle-child” generation — Gen X.

Each nominee earns a chance to win a Webby People’s Voice Award based on fan voting. Cast your votes through Thursday, April 18.

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We applaud Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee for signing legislation to make it easier for workers to save for retirement out of their paychecks.

The AARP-backed law will create a state-facilitated automatic IRA program known as Washington Saves. The law is expected to benefit roughly 1.2 million Washingtonians who currently don’t have access to a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), through their employer.

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AARP is collaborating with The DAISY Foundation to encourage caregivers and others to show gratitude for the nurses in their lives — an effort we hope will boost job satisfaction and keep more nurses from leaving the profession.

The nation’s 4 million nurses are the largest part of the health care workforce. Yet more than 100,000 registered nurses left the profession during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 900,000 — about a fifth of all registered nurses in the country — intend to leave by 2027, according to a 2022 National Nursing Workforce survey.

By helping nurses feel appreciated and valued, AARP hopes to reverse those statistics, so Americans can continue to “get the care they need when they need it,” said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president and director of AARP Public Policy Institute, who is also a registered nurse.

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