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Ask Lee

AARP President W. Lee Hammond answers your questions.

Q: How does AARP help older Americans who are struggling to pay their bills?

A: In this tough economy, AARP's charitable arm, the AARP Foundation, has delivered services (such as Work ­ Search, which helps workers reenter the job market or upgrade from their current position), information, and legal advocacy to more than 5 million older Americans who are skipping meals or meds while trying to keep a roof overhead. One example: Many low-income individuals don't know about programs that can help them pay food, housing, utility, and prescription-drug bills. The Foundation administers an online benefits outreach program (, a one-stop site where people can learn about benefits and apply immediately to receive them.

Q: What about assistance to disaster victims?

A: The AARP Foundation collaborates with HelpAge USA, the only global relief agency to focus specifically on helping older adults cope successfully with large-scale emergencies. Simple measures such as providing comfortable sleeping places and help getting around can keep seniors healthy and productive. In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake the $1 million that AARP members donated to the Foundation's relief fund, as well as the $500,000 the Foundation itself donated, allowed HelpAge to give food, well-being kits, and shelter to thousands of Haitians. Closer to home, the Foundation raised $1.86 million in 2005 for grants to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Learn about more AARP Foundation activities at

Q: Does AARP offer fitness programs?

A: Check out AARP's fitness programs online to help you get in shape, including our interactive Fat2Fit community, a weight-loss group featuring more than 17,000 participants. You'll also find informative articles and motivational tips from experts — like our Health and Fitness Ambassador Martina Navratilova — on topics such as choosing a gym and identifying fat-burning foods. Watch Dr. Mehmet Oz's stretching, strength, and balance workout videos, part of his plan to get you healthier in six months. Or sign up for Step Up to Better Health: Strap on a pedometer to monitor the steps you take each day, then track your progress online against one of four famous American walking routes, including the Appalachian Trail.

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