Business Politics



AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, is a United States-based, non-biased and nonprofit organization for people aged fifty and over, dedicated to assist older Americans enhance their quality of life, marked by purpose, dignity and independence. AARP is the oldest and largest organization of older Americans with more than 38 million members. AARP maintains its head office in Washington, D.C., plus a network of local offices in all 50 states as well as offices in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. AARP provides a wide range of programs to its members including promoting community service; informing members and the public through its publications, forums and websites on issues related to economic security, work, health, independent living, and consumer issues; presenting various special products and services to its members such as insurance, investment funds and other financial products; and advocating on legislative, consumer, and legal issues.

Recognized as one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, AARP has spent $23,160,000 for lobbying in 2006. The organization works on its advocacy efforts on issues that impact older persons such as Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care issues. Its Advocacy Center for Social Security develops policy schemes and lobbies Congress. Its efforts were also instrumental in the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in the U.S. Congress as well as the resistance of Congress to changes in the Social Security in 2005. AARP also actively implements the voter education program with the aim of informing the public about the various stands of candidates for public office as well as essential issues concerning public policy.

Who they represent

AARP represents the interests of its members as well as the entire older Americans regardless of status in life. Membership is open to any individual aged 50 and above. They don’t need to be U.S. citizens or retired. In fact, more than 40,000 members reside outside the United States and more than one-third of its membership is still in the workforce.


AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), an organization which Dr. Andrus created in 1947 to respond to the need of retired teachers for health insurance, since no private health insurance was practically available at that time. Dr. Andrus went to several insurance companies until she found one company that was willing to insure older individuals. Dr. Andrus eventually saw the need to create a new group open to all Americans over 50 years of age; thus, in 1958, the American Association of Retired Persons was created. NRTA is now a division within the AARP. In 1999, the its original name was officially changed into just four letters ‘AARP’ as the group no longer required that the members be retired.

Major Issues

AARP works on issues including finding affordable legal help; universal health coverage; changing social security; state-by-state elder abuse resource list. AARP recently launched its campaign, Divided We Fail, intended to attend to healthcare and long-term financial security through various activities including round-table discussions and traditional grassroots action to get the public, businesses and elected officials involved in debate and to encourage public officials to present solutions.