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Ask Lee

AARP President W. Lee Hammond answers your questions.

Q: My sister takes care of her disabled husband at home. It seems very stressful. How does AARP help caregivers?

A: An estimated 42 million unpaid family members care for adults who need assistance to remain at home. Many risk their own health and financial security. The actual value of this care is astronomical — about $450 billion in 2009. AARP has championed family caregivers for more than a decade, supporting federal funding yearly for the Administration on Aging (AoA) National Family Caregiving Program, created in 2000. In 2009 and 2010 we fought successfully for key provisions in the health care reform law to help family caregivers. Currently we're pressing Congress to give the AoA an additional $96 million to expand counseling, training, and respite care, as well as home and community-based services.

AARP President W. Lee Hammond

W. Lee Hammond

Q: What would make my city appealing to older residents?

A: People of all ages need the same things: a way to get around town, safe and comfortable housing, and places to meet friends. Our surveys show that almost 90 percent of 50-plus Americans want to remain in their current homes as they age, in communities that support their needs. Truly livable communities feature sidewalks, bus stops with benches, visible traffic signs, and roads and crosswalks that work for pedestrians and transit riders as well as drivers. They also offer a variety of housing options (including one-story living), easy access to shops and services, opportunities for social engagement in libraries, and parks with well-lit walking paths. These amenities make for a rich community life.

A Question for Members:

Would you like to serve on AARP's Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors sets policy for AARP and oversees the association's direction. AARP is seeking qualified candidates to fill seven positions on the all-volunteer board in the Class of 2018, which will serve a six-year nonrenewable term starting May 2012. Applicants must have a strong commitment to AARP's mission and goals, significant prior board experience, and experience in setting strategy, developing policy, monitoring organizational effectiveness, and overseeing large budgets. Applicants must be able to spend 25 to 45 days a year on board activities (plus travel and preparation time). For an application (due September 30) or to learn more, visit or write the Office of the Corporate Secretary, AARP, 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20049.

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