AARP gets new coordinator – and new magazine for baby boomers

John Sloan wants to help spread the word that AARP is no longer just an organization for retired people.

"We are reaching out to baby-boomers who are just now turning 50," said Sloan, who is AARP's new associate state coordinator for operations in Northern Arizona.

In fact the organization uses its acronym AARP instead of its original name – American Association of Retired Persons – because it has changed its focus to include all persons age 50 and older, not just retired people or those 65 and older, Sloan said.

"I look forward to working with local chapters and community coordinators in finding ways to better serve this growing membership," he said.

A Kingman resident since 1990, Sloan has a long history of AARP volunteerism, holding several positions within the organization including district director of Northern Arizona and state training coordinator.

Most recently he served as acting state president.

In addition, he was a delegate to the Arizona White House Conference on Aging and is a current member of the Mohave County Council on Aging and the Drug Free Alliance.

Sloan's duties as coordinator, a volunteer position, will allow him to develop and maintain AARP programs and activities in communities throughout Northern Arizona and work closely with AARP volunteers and staff to educate the public about issues affecting people age 50 and older in the state, he said.

"Because so many of our new members are baby boomers, AARP will publish a magazine called "My Generation," that will be mailed to 3 million members age 50 to 54 this spring.

The March/April issue will be the biggest launch of a magazine in history," he added.

The organization is not abandoning its older members, who still receive the flagship magazine "Modern Maturity," which has been redesigned.

It will now be published in two editions, one for seniors 55 to 65, and one for those 65 and older.

Sloan claims that AARP is the second largest organization in the world behind the Roman Catholic Church, and continues to grow, especially in Arizona.

"Arizona has more than 640,000 members - the largest percentage of members that joined AARP last year.

Many were baby boomers.

They are changing the way we think and operate now that they are all coming of age," Sloan said.

For $10 a year a member receives the magazine every other month, plus printouts on topics such as prescription drugs and how to handle stress.

In addition, members receive discounts on certain home, vehicle and medical insurance and discounts on some travel expenses, such as hotels and car rentals, he said.

"We want to help people achieve what they want after 50 – a productive lifestyle as they age.

In addition, here in Arizona we have a strong campaign to fight fraud against the elderly and to strengthen our AARP Tax-Aide Program and AARP 55/Alive program," Sloan said.

Because of the increasing membership nationwide, AARP will double the amount of state offices within the United States this year to include a "walk-in" office in every state plus an office in the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, he said.

Arizona's state office is located in Phoenix.

Sloan and his wife, Freda, lived in Van Nuys, Calif., when they began looking for a place to retire.

"For about five years, when we took vacations, we would visit places we wanted to live," Sloan said.

"Each time, we would pass through Kingman on our way back.

Then we heard about the good housing prices here and that it was a friendly town."

After building a home in Kingman, Sloan became involved in the Kingman AARP chapter.

Although now defunct, several Kingman organizations sprang from that chapter, including Widowed Persons Service and Future Focus Group, an investment group, he said.

The first AARP chapter was formed in Youngtown, Ariz., in 1960.

There are now 34 chapters in Arizona, including Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City.

"Mohave County AARP Day" will be held Feb.

28 at the Mohave County Library located in Bullhead City.

Sloan and other AARP representatives will be on hand with information, videos and presentations on subjects of interest to anyone 50 or older.

For more information about AARP call the AARP state office at (602) 256-2277.