The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2017-2018

AARP is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through advocacy, service, and information to make things better for society and play a positive role in communities of all kinds. AARP’s public policies serve as the foundation of our work to fight for people 50-plus and help equip them to live their best lives.

AARP’s membership represents nearly 38 million Americans age 50 and over. Our members span four generations and reflect a wide range of attitudes, cultures and lifestyles. A growing number of them work full- or part-time because they want to or must. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, teachers, caregivers and community leaders. Some are at the peak of their earning years with comfortable standards of living and others are living alone and struggling with minimal resources. AARP members have many of the same concerns as younger members of our society—particularly around financial security, health care, and the neighborhoods in which they live. Developing public policy recommendations that serve the interests of a group as diverse as 50-plus Americans is a formidable task.

Our challenge is to reimagine the traditional model of aging and take advantage of the wisdom, experience, interests, and contributions that older Americans make to the social capital of the nation. We want an America where people 50-plus have access to the care, information and services they need to lead healthier lives. We seek an America where people 50-plus have the financial resources and opportunities to match their longer life expectancy. We want an America where people 50-plus are seen as an integral and inspirational asset to society. We envision an America where bedrock programs like Social Security and Medicare remain strong for all older Americans, as well as their children and grandchildren.

The Policy Book integrates input from AARP members and all older Americans through an annual call for public comment, communications, policy forums, surveys, and polls. With this input, AARP’s all-volunteer National Policy Council—made up of AARP members—analyzes policy options and recommends public policies to the AARP Board of Directors (see How We Set Policy at AARP for a detailed description of this process). The board approved the policies in this edition on March 9, 2017. AARP intends the Policy Book as a guide for volunteers and staff in advocating for change over the next two years.

The 2017–2018 edition of the Policy Book is available online at