Best-of: AARP in 2010


( One of our favorite moments this year: AARP members gather for a drum circle outside the convention hall. September 30, 2010.)
Quite the year, wasn't it? We publish an immense amount of material here at AARP HQ; you're probably familiar with AARP the Magazine, or AARP Bulletin, or the many, many articles we publish solely on our website. We're guessing we published something on the order of three thousand articles over the last year. That's a lot of website, y'all.
We picked out a few highlights. Some of these are here simply because you, the reader, loved them, clicked on them, and sent them to your friends; some of them because they marked big milestones for us; and some we just loved.
As far as milestones go, the passage of the health care reform bill was a big one. In "Answers to Your Questions About the New Health Care Law", we run through a bunch of the questions AARP hears from our members, and try to give answers that make sense.
Sid Kirchheimer ran through the decade's worst cyber-scams in "A Decade of Deceit", including the infamous "Nigerian king" scam: "If you bite, you're told in subsequent messages that you'll need to pay $1,000 or so up-front, for taxes, bribes or other expenses. The money you send is never seen again, but is followed by demands for more of it. "
Jeff Yeager, otherwise known as the "ultimate cheapskate," gave us a permanent bookmark with "A Web of Free Stuff" - or, how to milk the Internet for all the free stuff it's got.
We here at AARP like to provide you with the information you need to live your life. In 2010, that included "How To Be a Cougar." "Forget about playing hard to get or feeling like you have to follow "The Rules" in order to bag a man. If you're wearing cougar clothes and prowling the cougar den, then own up to why you're there and what you want!" You should probably just read the whole thing.
On a more serious note, your hair might not make you a cougar, but "What Your Hair May Say About Your Heart" notes a study that indicates your cortisol levels could predict future heart attacks. Scary stuff.
We marked Hurricane Katrina's five year anniversary with a roundup of "What We've Learned", profiling the Hollygrove neighborhood in New Orleans, now a model for aging in place; reflected with jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard; followed two families who chose to move away, leaving the city they loved; and reviewed what Louisiana is changing to protect its older residents, should a Katrina hit again. Also, visit New Orleans. It's still a special city.
We met 25,000 amazing AARP members in Orlando, and while we were there, we got to interview a few on their stories of volunteering. "Straight from the Heart", a project in connection with StoryCorps, recorded all of them. They're powerful, heartfelt moments - take some time and listen to a few as you think about giving back in 2011.
Speaking of powerful, we can't remember anything that touched us quite as much as "Remembered", an Alzheimer's photography project. Photographer Gregg Segal combined a present-day portrait of a person living with Alzheimer's with a projected image from the past. The results celebrate full lives, happy lives, and, well, in the words of Freda Machett's husband - "I miss her voice."
"When grandma Phyllis noticed the tattoo of an anchor on her daughter Caren's foot, her response was exactly opposite of what Caren had expected. "I really like that. I'm going to get it." In " My Grandma's Tattoo," one of our younger videographers got to record a precious moment with her grandmother.
We know y'all like football - but next year, when you get out from behind the flatscreen, come back to our list of the "Top Football Destinations" and get out the calendar.
If your office career is getting a little bit old (especially if you can't bring your dog to the office with you) Jane Pauley has a solution: start knitting. Or do more of it, whichever. It could become a second career, as long as you're realistic about it.

That's a wrap. Let's get on to 2011!

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