[sixties-l] A YOUNGER AARP (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 21:56:30 EST

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    Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 18:10:44 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: A YOUNGER AARP


    Group changes image, embraces boomers, flexes muscle

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer


    Washington -- AARP. It has a new name, a new magazine, a new focus on baby
    boomers and a new executive director. This is not your grandmother's
    American Association of Retired Persons.

    Once as synonymous with the elderly as early bird specials, the 35
    million-member organization is aggressively pursuing the baby boomer

    Only a half-dozen years ago, boomers didn't even meet the group's minimum
    age of 50. Now, one out of five AARP members is between 50 and 56.

    Most of them still are working. In fact, half of AARP's members still are
    working. That has much to do with the 1999 name change to just the four
    letters -- with no mention of the word "retired" -- that had been part of
    the acronym for the organization.

    The association also is flexing its muscles nationwide. Long a powerhouse
    in Washington, AARP now has branch offices in every state and a lobbying
    presence in every state capital.

    In Georgia, AARP's state office is at 999 Peachtree St. N.E. in Atlanta.

    This year, AARP is applying that muscle to one issue above all others: a
    prescription drug benefit in Medicare.

    Last month, for the first time, AARP members were urged to write to
    President Bush, in addition to members of Congress, to demand a drug benefit.

    This month, AARP plans to hold rallies around the country, urging members
    of the congressional budget committees to earmark at least $300 billion for
    a 10-year prescription drug benefit.

    This fall, the organization, which does not endorse candidates or
    contribute to political campaigns, plans to publish voter guides that will
    highlight, in no uncertain terms, whether lawmakers and challengers are for
    or against an AARP-backed Medicare drug benefit.

    "We know that budget constraints are greater than last year ... but so is
    the need for a drug benefit," said William Novelli, who took over as AARP's
    executive director and chief operating officer in June.

    "At the end of the day, people still need their medication, and they still
    have to figure out how they are going to pay for it. This is a major
    problem in this county, and putting it off is not going to make it any
    easier; it will make it harder," Novelli said.

    A co-founder of Porter Novelli, one of the world's largest public-relations
    agencies, Novelli, 60, was executive vice president of CARE and president
    of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids before joining AARP about two years
    ago. He took over the top post from Horace Deets, a former Jesuit priest
    who headed the organization for more than a decade.

    Novelli brings a tougher attitude toward dealing with Congress. In recent
    years, AARP has been unwilling to endorse legislation. Instead, it would
    offer general guidelines to Congress.

    The winds of change began blowing through AARP a few years ago. The leading
    edge of the baby boomers was reaching 50. Would they join the association
    for retirees?

    In October 2000, AARP launched an advertising campaign designed to change
    the organization's image.

    The campaign featured portraits of active, healthy-looking boomers, along
    with those slightly older. As part of that campaign, AARP sponsors the
    "Forever Young" segment of NBC's "Today" show.

    Last February , AARP launched a magazine aimed directly at the baby boom
    generation with an initial press run of 3.1 million, the largest
    circulation for a new magazine in history.

    Titled "My Generation" -- boomers might recall the rock group The Who's
    song of that title that contained the lyrics, "Hope I die before I get old"
    -- the magazine is a hipper version of the association's Modern Maturity
    and has featured such cover celebrities as Sally Field and Susan Sarandon.

    Last month, AARP launched another publication, Segunda Juventud, or "Second
    Youth," a Spanish-language quarterly newspaper for the country's growing
    Hispanic elderly population.

    This year, Novelli says, AARP also plans to focus more on living
    arrangements for the elderly, from independent living to assisted living to
    nursing homes and a quality end of life.

    The association will sponsor research and propose legislative and
    private-sector changes to make it easier for current and future elderly
    generations to remain in their homes as long as possible and then receive
    an orderly progression of care.

    AARP plans to launch two other efforts this year to enhance volunteerism
    and physical fitness, Novelli said.

    Volunteerism has been a part of AARP since its founding in 1958. The group
    has programs in which members help one another with tax advice, driver
    education, grief counseling and employment.

    Now, AARP plans to work with other organizations to match its members'
    desire to volunteer with groups that need assistance, such as Big
    Brothers-Big Sisters or Habitat for Humanity.

    To promote fitness, AARP sponsors the "Triumph Classic," a triathlon-style
    event for people 50 and over that includes a 5-kilometer run, 20-kilometer
    bicycle race and 400-meter swim.

    This year, it will be held in 15 cities, including Atlanta on Sept. 29.

    AARP also is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on pilot
    programs to encourage and make it easier for adults to stay active longer
    in life

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