Letter from America

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 12 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1301
  1. William D Novelli (, chief executive officer1
  1. 1 AARP, Washington, DC 20049, USA

    Elderly people are too often marginalised in society, but William Novelli describes how the US advocacy organisation AARP fights to remedy this

    It has been said that you can measure a society by the care that it takes of its most vulnerable members, especially children and elderly people. Throughout the industrialised world, people have banded together in organised groups to protect the rights of children on issues like child labour, health, and education. Organised support for elderly people has developed more slowly. Such was the case in the United States until 1958, when the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) was founded by a retired educator, Ethel Percy Andrus. From modest beginnings, the association has become one of the strongest advocacy organisations in the nation, if not the world.

    AARP is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organisation for people aged 50 and over with more than 35 million members. We offer a wide range of products and services for our members and provide them with information and resources. But what has attracted the most attention is our role as the voice of older Americans.

    AARP's activities

    AARP's current top national legislative priority is to persuade the US Congress to pass, and the president to sign, legislation to add …

    View Full Text

    Log in

    Log in through your institution


    * For online subscription