Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

AARP turns a nifty 50 today

Yes, there will be cake and balloons. No, none of the balloons will be black ones bearing the smirking legend, "Look who turned 50!''

But the organization whose very acronym stood for hitting the big 5-0 is celebrating: AARP reaches the half-century mark today.

AARP no longer bothers spelling out its full name — the American Association of Retired Persons — because in 1999 its leaders wanted to make clear that it represents more than just retirees. It had dropped its minimum age to 50 from 55 in 1983. Membership in the 50 states and three territories is about 39-million; Florida reached 3-million this year, second only to California.

AARP was spun off from the National Retired Teachers Association, founded in 1947 by Ethel Percy Andrus. As director of welfare for a California teachers' group, recounts AARP historian Lily Liu, Andrus "found a retired teacher living in what (she) called a chicken coop. These retirees had pensions, but they were so meager, and they had no group health insurance.''

Andrus' work led her to create the National Retired Teachers Association, which attracted enough noneducator retirees that Andrus created the American Association of Retired Persons. The incorporation papers were signed on July 1, 1958.

In 1959 the new association began a mail-order pharmacy, which drew even more members. About this time, Andrus realized the number of retirees moving to Florida, so she had AARP create Hospitality House on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. It offered everything from hotel recommendations to afternoon teas — and a pharmacy.

Though a nonprofit, AARP spends tens of millions to identify the issues most important to older adults and to influence legislation on these topics.

Increasingly, America's focus is on "younger'' older people, the 78-million boomers, ages 44 to 62. There are 1.05-million Florida boomers who are AARP members.

About that birthday party: Celebrations will take place in many local offices. But AARP is saving the blowout for the first week of September in Washington, D.C., when even nonmembers are invited. Workshops and programs during that three-day Life@50+ event range from online dating to reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance to therapeutic massage, advances in brain health to "sex and love through menopause and beyond.''

Robert N. Jenkins can be reached at bjenkins@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8496.

>>Fast facts

National party

For information on the Sept. 4-6 Life@50+ event in Washington, D.C., go to www.aarp.org/aarp_benefits/natl_events/dc/

AARP turns a nifty 50 today 06/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 30, 2008 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body..
  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]