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AARP Bulletin

Where We Stand

Our Real Possibilities

Learn how AARP can help you live the best life possible at any age

En español | After many years in the same job, a friend told me he wanted to do something different. Like many in that situation, he had a lot of questions: Change jobs? Start a business (something he always wanted to do)? Retire and ramp up his volunteer work?

I suggested he visit LifeReimagined.org for help in discovering what really matters to him (and I gave him a copy of our book Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities. I also suggested he take a look at AARP's online retirement calculator that helps people answer their financial questions about retirement. And I recommended he visit AARP's online site that connects volunteers with needs in their own communities, CreateTheGood.org

"Wow!" he said. "I didn't know AARP does all that."

That conversation started me thinking: I'll bet that AARP does a lot of things people aren't aware of. So that's the topic of this month's column.

Most people identify AARP as a leading advocate for Social Security and Medicare, as a crusader against age discrimination and as an organization that makes available to its members a wide array of insurance products and discounts ranging from cellphones to supermarkets.

And we do so much more.

People turning 50 today have over half of their adult lives ahead of them. At the same time, more than 10,000 people a day are turning 65, a trend that will continue for the next 16 years.

This is creating a life stage between work and retirement that we at AARP call the "Age of Possibilities."

It has come about because people reject the notion that their options shrink as they get older. At AARP we think age multiplies our opportunities. So our challenge — and our opportunity — is to help society adapt to the millions of people who are entering the Age of Possibilities and to offer people the tools they can use to thrive in it.

That means online resources such as our Retirement Calculator and Caregiving Resource Center; discounts to help your money stretch further; volunteer opportunities through AARP Experience Corps, AARP Driver Safety, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and Create the Good, and books such as Juggling Work and Caregiving and 299 Ways to Save.

We'll never stop fighting to make sure you get the Social Security and Medicare benefits you've been promised. But that's not all we do. AARP is the only organization in the world that focuses on the dreams, the economic realities and the opportunities of people 50-plus.

We offer free help to those who are reimagining their lives — seeking personal growth, looking for their life's purpose, seeking to discover their real possibilities for financial security … good health … meaningful work … romance … discovery … travel. And the list goes on.

For instance, this month AARP will unveil a travel website that lets people dream, plan, schedule and document once-in-a-lifetime trips and spur-of-the-moment weekend getaways.

Through AARP Movies for Grownups, we celebrate films with story lines and performances that have distinct relevance to people 50-plus. When frigid temperatures threatened the well-being of many seniors this year, AARP Foundation established a relief fund to help out.

We're in the forefront of exploring ways society can make it easier for people to remain in their homes as they grow older, and we're helping the cities and towns where you live to become more age-friendly.

Our free — and private — online tools let you estimate Social Security benefits and the best time to claim them, identify pills by their shape and color, calculate what you may have to pay for health care in retirement, and even browse through tempting recipes.

Not only that, we provide access to tools and resources to help you find a job or start a business. We make you aware of and help you protect yourself from financial scams.

To keep your brain sharp, our online Brain Health Center has mental exercises, the latest on medical discoveries and tips about how to stay sharp.

As my friend said, "Wow! I didn't know AARP does all that."

If you don't know AARP does all this, you don't know AARP.

Just as AARP was there over 50 years ago to help individuals and society adapt to the new life stage of retirement, we are here today to help individuals and society adapt to the new Age of Possibilities.

Yet, throughout it all, our mission has never wavered as we fight for and equip each individual to live his or her best life.

A. Barry Rand is the CEO of AARP.

To learn more about how AARP is making life better for all, watch a video at aarp.org/WhatWeDo. See our television ads at aarp.org/possibilities

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