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About AARP

In 1947, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school principal, made a shocking discovery. On a visit to a former teacher, she found the woman living in an old chicken coop, in poor health and unable to afford medical care.

Ethel got mad. She also got organized. After helping that first teacher, she turned her efforts to helping others with a campaign to obtain affordable health insurance for retired teachers. Over 40 companies turned her down, but she persevered and eventually succeeded.

She soon discovered that many other older people needed help as well, and in 1958, she founded AARP.

Today, AARP remains committed to championing the needs of people as they age.  We do this by focusing on the five things every generation shares:

  • The need for health
  • The need for financial security
  • The need for community
  • The need to give back to society
  • The need to enjoy life

Meeting these needs and ensuring the quality of life for all as we age is no small task. AARP is a strong nonprofit, nonpartisan advocate for Americans 50-plus and provides trusted information with our publications, voter education guides, research and a website that cover the issues our members care about most.

The AARP Foundation is our charitable arm. It provides services to both members and nonmembers — especially the most vulnerable in society. Our Foundation delivers direct services such as the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance program and legal advocacy work to support the rights of older people across the country.

Finally, AARP Services, Inc. makes available products and services designed specifically for the 50-plus consumer — many of whom might otherwise be excluded from the marketplace. We do this by working with leading businesses to identify and respond to the ever-changing needs of Americans as they age. These relationships not only help shape the marketplace, but also earn royalty revenue that helps AARP achieve its mission of leading positive social change.

AARP Services, Inc., manages the provider relationships for and performs quality control oversight of the wide range of products and services that carry the AARP name and are made available by independent providers as benefits to AARP’s millions of members. AARP Services also engages in new product development activities for.

When she founded AARP more than 50 years ago, Ethel proclaimed that “an army of useful citizens” can do what no one person can. Today, we at AARP champion her dream and serve all generations through vigorous action and by never forgetting the one act of compassion that started it all.

Today, just as we did more than 50 years ago, AARP works tirelessly to fulfill the vision: a society in which everyone lives their life with dignity and purpose, and in which AARP helps people fulfill their goals and dreams.  We do this through activities in several areas:      
We stand up for our members and society as a strong nonpartisan advocate for social change. We work on the issues that matter, including strengthening Social Security and supporting other retirement savings efforts, promoting adequate and affordable health care, and fostering livable communities. More
Community Service

We help our members and their communities help themselves. Caring and compassion are the bottom line of AARP. Our goal is to give people a voice, a sense of community, and a purpose through Create the Good and the AARP Foundation, through which members can contribute to those in need across the United States. We recently partnered with NASCAR to launch the Drive to End Hunger. More
Publications and Media
We provide valuable and trustworthy information to our members. We publish AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest-circulation magazine; the AARP Bulletin, a newspaper published 10 times a year and daily online; AARP Viva, a quarterly magazine and a radio program in Spanish and English; a public affairs radio program, Prime Time; an award-winning website,;, and two syndicated TV shows, Inside E Street, a public affairs program, and My Generation, a magazine-style show.
AARP conducts extensive research on aging-related subjects. Our Public Policy Institute publishes major reports on the 50+ population, and we recognize the Best Employers for Workers Over 50.
Global Aging
AARP is a leader in working internationally with governmental and nongovernmental organizations. AARP’s international program works to exchange ideas and find solutions to aging concerns worldwide.
National Event
Life@50+ | AARP’s National Event & Expo annually brings information and entertainment to 27,000+ members and nonmembers. The 2011 event will be held in Los Angeles, California.
Products and Services
We lead the way in the marketplace by being a force in influencing companies to offer new and better choices for our members and older Americans.  Specific products made available as member benefits include health insurance; automobile and homeowners insurance; member discounts on rental cars; cruises, vacation packages and lodging; a credit card; pharmacy services; alternative health services; legal services; and long-term care insurance. AARP Services provides quality control over branded products.

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