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Mary
In August of 2014, Mary’s mother Eartha was discharged from the hospital after a short stay — an event that would have lasting consequences. When Mary arrived at the hospital that day, Eartha was ready to go, dressed and sitting in a wheelchair with a list of medications on her lap.  Never given instructions on her mother’s new prescriptions, Mary missed out on a key piece of information — one of the medications was only meant to be given for a very short time. This was discovered months later, but it was too late. Eartha’s kidneys had been damaged irreversibly by the medication and were only working at 10 percent. Mary was given the choice to start her mother on dialysis or begin hospice care.
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In preparing Mom’s medication, my 90-year-old Pop would fill a syringe using the light of the kitchen window to see if the dosage was correct. He set up the nebulizer on a table with handwritten step-by-step instructions to remind him how to operate it. Today, millions of family caregivers like Pop perform complex medical tasks that at one time would have been administered only by medical professionals.
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Ten years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, AARP had to cancel our Life@50+ national conference in New Orleans.
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Older voters continue to lean Republican in this year's Senate races, a new survey shows, but there have been significant shifts in seven battleground states from a comparable survey by the same organizations nearly two months ago. Overall, Republicans are on the cusp of gaining the six seats they need to take control of the Senate in the Nov. 4 election, shows the survey, conducted by YouGov of Palo Alto, Calif., for the New York Times/CBS News Battleground Tracker.
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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!
The Ryans
"We need to 'spring' your mother," Pop, who loved prison movies, told me over the phone while asking me to come home that weekend. Mom had been in a rehabilitation center for two weeks following a bad fall and a hospital stay. Both she and Pop were ready for her to go home.
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Meet Lynn Achter, a Wyoming resident, who was granted guardianship of her brother in Oregon after he suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident.   From a thousand miles away, she managed his money, made medical decisions, and coordinated the resources and services he needed.
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This week, Health Insurance Marketplaces opened in states across the country.  It's true: Many more Americans will now have access to affordable health care.  But, other hard-working people, who live in states that have not yet committed to expanding Medicaid, will fall into a new coverage gap.
Norman and Norma Burmah
Let's hear it for Norman and Norma Burmah of Marksville, La., who, after 82 years, have just achieved a  milestone of being the longest living married couple in the United States.
Older voters fueled a Rick Santorum victory in Louisiana's GOP primary. Plus: Why are U.S. communities so ill-prepared for an aging boomer population?
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