What Does AARP Do For Us?

Photo courtesy of BigStock/lucigerma
Photo courtesy of BigStock/lucigerma

When you pay your annual dues to the AARP, what do you get as an LGBTQ member?

The organization formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons has been the leading advocacy group for older adults since 1958. It is now the largest such group offering not just advocacy for legislation pertaining the lives of older adults in this country, but benefits to its members. 

A small annual membership fee unlocks a lot of advantages to its members. Not just information of legislation the AARP is working to push through Federal and State governments, but for its members to take advantage of discounts on everything from healthcare to travel – and so forth.

As you pass by the Twin Cities Pride festival at Loring Park, you might be happy to see the AARP booth there. However, you are probably wondering if they have anything specific for LGBTQ older adults. 

In a sense, yes and no. The idea that AARP welcomes LGBTQ members is perhaps to provide a level field of benefits and advocacy that is spread across a diverse spectrum of older adults. In other words, benefits equal equity. 

For example, pharmacy benefits are critical towards maintaining the cost of prescriptions. A discount provided by OptumRx might be offer the lowest price on certain prescription medicines compared to current rates through Medicare or your current health insurance plan. 

As a community, we love to travel. There are a total of 119 discounts available to AARP members to take advantage of. They feature discounts at hotel chains, rental car agencies, and cruise lines. The discounts available to members also include automotive services, wireless services, health and wellness, shopping, restaurants, insurance, entertainment, financial services, real estate, and more. 

In addition, AARP localizes their efforts through state and city offices. Here in Minnesota, AARP offers localized opportunities through online and in-person events designed to inform older adults on advocacy efforts, as well as to connect members together. The same level of efforts is available through their Twin Cities-based programs. One such localized effort is through their AARP Driver Safety program, promoting safer driving for older adults.

Also, AARP offers free tax preparation locally, as well as offer resources for better living in your area. 

You can also connect through monthly meetings of the AARP’s local chapters in Minneapolis, Duluth, Rochester, Moorhead, Augusta (WI), Hayward (WI), Sioux Falls – to name a few in the Upper Midwest. It is a way to catch up on what’s new locally with the AARP, as well as connect with members and volunteers. 

Even though these service appear to be universally available to all members, the AARP does recognize that LGBTQ older adults are part of the growing aging population in this country. However, they do not offer anything specific that caters to our community at this time. Yet, they do align themselves with currently available organizations and services that interface with LGBTQ older adults. 

We asked Father Harry Hartigan, one of our 2022 Lavender Magazine Community Award recipients and advocate for LGBTQ older adults, his thoughts on where AARP stands with our community. “AARP [Minnesota] has been a leader at Twin Cities Pride (as one of the anchors of the “Generations of Pride” section at the Festival in Loring Park) since 2013 or 2014,” explained Hartigan. “The work we have done locally was recognized by AARP National and they sent a huge team of folks to Twin Cities Pride in 2018. I firmly believe that AARP wants to be diverse and inclusive and their presence at [Twin Cities Pride] is testament to this commitment.”

When you log onto the AARP website you will see their commitment towards being inclusive. There is an LGBTQ page that talks about our people, our history, and which benefits work with us. We suspect that there will be more to come, as our LGBTQ older adults continue to demand for services that are relevant and supportive of our aging population. 

While you are getting invitations to join AARP before you turn 50, you may want to check out what they offer. Peruse through the benefits and at which age certain discounts will come into play. Log on to aarp.org to see what they offer you. 

Lavender Magazine

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436 • 612.436.4660

©2022 Lavender Media, Inc.