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The History Behind How AARP Was Founded Skip to content

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Banner reads A Living Legacy, How Ethel Percy Andrus Changed America

   

AARP Founder

Photos of Ethel Percy Andrus in her early years

A Revolutionary Leader Is Born in California

Nurtured by progressive parents, Ethel Percy Andrus finds her calling

Ethel Percy Andrus holding papers

Founder’s Purpose Begins at Chicken Coop 

Andrus meets a retired teacher living in poverty, vows to make a difference

Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus standing at podium

A California Teachers Association Goes National

AARP emerges as Andrus’ ideas take flight

President Lyndon Johnson offers Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus the pen he used to sign the Older Americans Act.

Older Americans Act Validates Andrus' Vision

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs law in 1965

Jo Ann Jenkins 2017 New Image

'I Consider It an Honor to Follow in Her Footsteps'

CEO Jo Ann Jenkins is inspired today by Andrus

Our Founder’s Mission

Swimming pool at Grey Gables

Active Retirement Community Combats Isolation, Loneliness

Grey Gables pioneers new model for living

A still from an animation of the house of freedom.

‘House of Freedom’ Introduces Concept of Aging in Place

Innovative home highlights White House conference

Ariel shot of 1964 World's Fair

AARP's ‘Dynamic Maturity’ at the 1964 World’s Fair

Pavilion showcases philosophy on aging

A group of people standing outside a Hawaiian plane with banner reading

Affordable Travel Becomes Key Member Benefit

First 45-day trip to Europe costs $895

People typing in a classroom

Lifetime Learning Sparks Personal Growth

Teacher-founder creates education program in 1963

Magazine covers of Modern Maturity and AARP The Magazine with Rita Moreno on front

Start-up Magazine Promotes a New Image of Aging

‘Modern Maturity’ (now 'AARP The Magazine') is born

Advertisement that reads: Your Social Security, Medicare helps older Americans pay hospital and medical expenses. Nearing 65?, Sign u for Medicare 2 or 3 months before your birthday.

AARP Helps to Shape Medicare Program

Health insurance for all is a top priority

A group of people stand in front of the

‘Retired Persons Pharmacy’ Keeps Drug Prices Down

Members get access to affordable medications

Man holding a phone

Consumers Learn to Fight Back Against Fraud

Warnings of scams go back to our founding days

white line

A Message From Ethel Percy Andrus

She talks about how to stay happy as you age

Ethel Percy Andrus on stage speaking to a crowd.

A Timeline of Key Moments in AARP's History

Association grows into a major force for change

1
Profile stories for AARP's 60th Anniversary

AARP Turns 60!

2
AARP volunteers at a food packing event

What We Do

3
an AARP van drives past the U.S. Capitol building

What We Fight For

4
Walter Moody

What We Care About

5
A A R P Founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus

Our Story

  • AARP Turns 60!

    Members and volunteers share how AARP has helped them improve their lives.

    Members and volunteers share how AARP has helped them improve their lives.

  • AARP's 60th Anniversary

    What We Do

    From our publications to our YouTube channel to our member events, AARP shares the info that makes life after 50 richer. What does that look like?

    Find Out Here

    From our publications to our YouTube channel to our member events, AARP shares the info that makes life after 50 richer. What does that look like?

    Find Out Here
  • AARP's 60th Anniversary

    What We Fight For

    On Capitol Hill, in every state capital and in courts throughout the land, we fight for the laws and protections that older Americans want and need.

    Meet Those We Protect
    Photo By T.J. Kirkpatrick

    On Capitol Hill, in every state capital and in courts throughout the land, we fight for the laws and protections that older Americans want and need.

    Meet Those We Protect
  • AARP's 60th Anniversary

    What We Care About

    Our founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus’ motto was “To serve, not to be served.” We know that people over 50 want to lend a hand.

    See Those We Serve
    Photo By Andrea Morales

    Our founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus’ motto was “To serve, not to be served.” We know that people over 50 want to lend a hand.

    See Those We Serve
  • AARP's 60th Anniversary

    Our Story

    Many of our most popular and enduring programs and activities can be traced directly back to the experiences of our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.

    Follow Our Journey
    Photo By AARP

    Many of our most popular and enduring programs and activities can be traced directly back to the experiences of our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.

    Follow Our Journey

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