Key Organizations Serving Older Adults
AARP is the largest organization for older Americans. More than half of AARP’s 34 million members over age 50 are still working. The organization focuses on issues such as health and wellness, economic security and employment. It offers many long-term resources and programs, including Ageline, a searchable online database containing detailed summaries of publications for older adults. AARP also offers hundreds of books, journals, magazines, research reports and videos serving members of the older population.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the oldest and largest national voluntary health organization dedicated to researching causes, cures and prevention strategies of Alzheimer’s disease and providing education and support services to Alzheimer’s patients, their families and caregivers.
The American Society on Aging is a national professional membership organization founded in 1954. Its members include practitioners, educators, researchers and lay people working with and on behalf of the aging. It offers a wide variety of programs for continuing education and specialized training in aging. It also works at the national level to influence public policy. Publications include a quarterly journal, Generations, a bimonthly newspaper, Aging Today, an electronic member newsletter, ASA Connection and eight quarterly newsletters by ASA’s specialized constituent groups.
The Centers for Medicare and Medical Services website provides information on health insurance for more than 74 million Americans receiving Medicare and/or Medicaid. This site includes news updates on both programs and other health care information important to seniors and their families.
The Corporation for National & Community Service – Senior Corps is a network of more than half a million seniors who are making a difference as foster grandparents, senior companions and retired and senior volunteer program (RSVP) volunteers (ie: Ozaukee Interfaith Organization). These programs tap the experience, skills, talents, interests and creativity of seniors age 55 and over.
Justice in Aging offers assistance to legal offices and private lawyers working on behalf of low-income older and disabled people. This national legal advocacy organization does not accept individual clients but acts as a clearinghouse of information on legal problems such as age discrimination, Social Security, pension plans, Medicaid, Medicare, nursing homes and protective services.
Medicare Rights Center is the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare. Founded in 1989, MRC helps older adults and people with disabilities get good, affordable health care. MRC provides telephone hotline services for questions on Medicare, works to teach people with Medicare and those who counsel them about Medicare benefits and rights, brings the consumer voice to the national debate on Medicare reform and works closely with local and national media outlets to ensure public awareness and understanding of Medicare issues.
The National Council on the Aging is a private, nonprofit association of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the dignity, self-determination, well-being and continuing contributions of older persons through leadership and service, education and advocacy. NCOA members include senior centers, adult day service centers, senior housing, congregate-meal sites, faith congregations and area agencies on aging.
In addition to the many volunteer opportunities open to older persons through Federal programs, community level agencies and organizations welcome the talents of the elderly. Many communities have Volunteer Centers that offer information about the types of volunteer opportunities available and the agencies and organizations that are seeking volunteer assistance. Volunteer Centers refer an estimated 800,000 new volunteers each year. Volunteers assist a wide variety of community organizations that provide services to such populations as the elderly, youth, people with AIDS and the homeless. Opportunities are also available in areas such as the arts and the environment.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives, or SCORE, is a 13,000 member volunteer association sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE is made up of retired executives and small business owners. SCORE volunteers provide counseling to small business owners free of charge.