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Ethel Percy Andrus: One Woman Who Changed America

By Craig Walker

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En español | After finding an older woman living in a chicken coop because she couldn’t afford decent housing or health care, a retired educator named Ethel Percy Andrus got angry, then got organized. And in doing so, she radically changed the landscape of America.

This beautifully illustrated book is the first comprehensive history of Andrus, the founder of AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.

A social innovator, visionary and disruptor, Andrus pioneered marketplace solutions to help older Americans stretch their dollars and improve the quality of their lives, such as affordable group health insurance, a discount drug-buying plan, and a travel service. She worked hard to create affordable, accessible housing for people as they age and unite the generations through volunteerism. She fought fraud and helped establish a new image of aging in the workplace and beyond. And as an educator, she served as a teacher and principal, launched a school for adults, and later founded the Institute of Lifetime Learning.

“I am constantly reminded of how much better people are living and aging today because of the innovations that Dr. Andrus pioneered and the changes she fought for.”

—Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP

Winner: APEX 2019 Awards of Publication Excellence