American Association of Retired Persons is the largest organization representing the interests of retired persons in the country. With the number of retired persons increasing in the United States, AARP has been in the forefront to influence public policies that serve the interest of this population segment especially on important issues like health, housing, and others.
Apart from serving the current senile generation, AARP has also carried out intensive lobbying campaigns on issues that will impact the future generations. The main aim of the organization is to create positive social change and enhance the quality of life for the aged. The group uses different strategies but most important has been its advertising campaign, research reports from its Policy Institute, and many others.
The group has been most influential in shaping of public health care policies and its policy influence clearly indicates that it advocates for pluralism. AARP has been providing the best services for the aged and it will continue to influence public policies in the future.
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Background of the organization
According to Charles (1996) American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) was founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy. Initially, it started as the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) which had been established in 1947 with the aim of promoting healthy aging philosophies and to provide health insurance for teachers. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization which mainly comprise of individuals from 50 years and above (Charles, 1996).
AARP.org (2009b) shows that currently the organization has more than 40 million members and its offices are spread in all 50 states and also in District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S Virgin Islands. Membership status has also changed and it no longer requires individual to be retired to be eligible but only to have reached the age of 50 years. AARP is the largest membership organization for individuals above the age of 50. It has been leading a major revolution to change the perception of life after 50.
Major policy goals
For the last half century, AARP has been in the forefront in creating positive social change not only to its members but to the whole society as well. The mission of the organization is to enhance the quality of life for all the aged, leading positive changes in the society, and delivery of quality services and value to its members mainly through provision of timely information, advocacy, and services to members.
AARP.org (2009b) asserts that the organization strongly believe in the working principles of collective purpose, collective voice, and the power of collective purchasing. These are important principles that guide the organization in all its work. This can exemplified by its Divided We Fall campaign launched in 2007 to influence health care policies.
AARP has worked tirelessly in order to fulfill its vision of creating a society in which everyone ages with a lot of dignity and purpose and also help aging individuals to fulfill their dreams and goals in life. The organization speaks in one voice and has a common motto of “To serve, not be served” (AARP.org, 2009b).
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