Content starts here
AARP AARP States Oregon

AARP Oregon Review

The AARP Oregon Review is a regular round-up of updates and information from the State Director, staff, and volunteer leadership.

January 2024: New Year Message from Bandana Shrestha, State Director

Shrestha.Bandana  photo.jpg

I am so proud of what we accomplished in 2023. AARP Oregon staff and volunteers are a formidable force for good as wise friends and fierce defenders of people 50+ and their families. And we are more effective because we work with leaders and community partners across the state who share our goals of building great places for people of all ages, supporting family caregivers, strengthening financial security, fighting frauds and scams, and engaging older adults in the civic life of our communities. Our collective work is improving lives of not only our 500,000 members, but all Oregonians today and in the future.

Here are a few highlights from 2023

· AARP Community Challenge and the AARP Age-Friendly Oregon Grant programs invested in 10 outstanding organizations in 2023. These organizations are strengthening community resilience, advancing digital equity, tackling food security, and helping older adults age in place.

· In May, Governor Kotek joined us to celebrate Older Americans Month. More than 4,000 AARP members across the state joined us for our conversation with the Governor and learned about her vision for aging in Oregon.

· We advocated for what is important to our members and older Oregonians at the legislature and successfully advanced policy changes in consumer protection, housing stability, prescription drug affordability, long-term care and caregiving. We also built strong support for workplace age-discrimination legislation, and we will continue to fight ageism.

· Our new Social Security campaign reached over 75,000 Oregonians through interactive community activities, direct mail, telephone town hall, and with a call to join the fight to protect Social Security. Our volunteers, Dr. Geneva Craig and Layton Rosencrance, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in a bi-partisan discussion about the future of Social Security with congressional leaders. This summer our staff and volunteers met with members of the Oregon delegation in their districts to discuss support for Social Security and family caregivers. And in the fall, our staff joined colleagues from across the country in DC for Hill visits as part of our nationwide advocacy summit.

· This year more than 25,000 people engaged in over 120 virtual and in-person AARP events across the state on topics ranging from caregiving and financial security to livable communities, fraud, and health and wellness. The majority of these events were volunteer-led and provided relevant tools and information as well as opportunities to build community.

· At our 2023 Volunteer Leadership Summit, we recognized the invaluable contributions of volunteers to our organization and to the larger Oregon community. We honored Anne Bellegia with the 2023 AARP Oregon Andrus Award for Community Service for her work on behalf of older Oregonians. We also awarded Dr. Carlos Romo the inaugural AARP Oregon Beacon Award for his impactful volunteer service.

· Together we have built momentum for an Age-Friendly Oregon and a Multi-Sector Plan for Aging. The Age-Friendly Oregon Summit welcomed and inspired more than 200 advocates, policy and change makers with thought-provoking speakers and conversations. We honored Age-Friendly Sisters Country with the 2023 Age-Friendly Community Champion Award and we also welcomed three new Cities—Independence, Monmouth, and Sherwood—to the Age-Friendly Network.

As you can see, 2023 has been a busy year. We onboarded our 7th staff and are finally a full team. Our Executive Council—led by Volunteer State President Michael Schultz—and cadre of 170 state volunteers have worked hand in hand with staff. And yet, there is much more to celebrate! The contributions and impact of AARP Safe Driver Program, AARP N/NE Portland Chapter, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, Oregon Retired Educators Association, and AARP Experience Corps Program hosted by Metropolitan Family Services to Oregon communities have been profound. I hope to share more about these incredible programs and partners with you in the new year.

Finally, a personal highlight for me this year was participating in Communities in Action at the White House with other Oregon leaders working on behalf of our communities to create opportunities and improve people’s everyday lives. I was also thrilled to attend and speak about Generations Together at the Grantmakers in Aging Conference in Austin with partners from Cambia Health Foundation, Bridge Meadows and City of Portland.

We look forward in 2024 to making our state and communities more age-friendly places where living, caregiving, working, saving, connecting, and voting are better than ever.

All the best in the year to come!

About AARP Oregon
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.