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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over. AARP is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service. AARP also provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members.
With over 35 million members, AARP is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over in the United States.
The group is known for providing a host of services to this ever-growing segment of the population by informing members and the public on issues important to this age group; advocating on legislative, consumer and legal issues; promoting community service; and offering a wide range of special products and services to members
Membership in AARP is open to any person age 50 or above. People do not have to be retired to join. 44% of AARP members work part time or full time. For these reasons, AARP shortened its name in 1999 from the American Association of Retired Persons to AARP.
Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school principal, founded AARP in 1958. AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which Dr. Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging, and in response to the need of retired teachers for health insurance. At that time, private health insurance was virtually unavailable to older Americans; in fact, it was not until 1965 that the government enacted Medicare, which provides health benefits to persons over age 65. Dr. Andrus approached dozens of insurance companies until she found one willing to take the risk of insuring older persons. She then developed other benefits and programs. After ten years, Dr. Andrus realized the time had come to create a new organization open to all Americans. Today, NRTA is a division within AARP.