Editor Note: This issue of AROHE Matters highlights the activities of retirement organizations to aid retirees in staying connected to colleagues and their campuses, especially during the pandemic, and at a time when loneliness and isolation are noted as an epidemic.

Issue Highlights
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President's Message

Summer is often a down time for organizations. It provides a chance to slow down, relax, and rejuvenate for the new year that is coming very shortly.

Of course, down time comes with risks for retirement organizations. Without opportunities for engagement, members can find other things to occupy their time and energy. When this happens, RO members may drift away and fail to return when a new year of programming and activities begins in the fall.

Enjoyable summer activities are a good way to ensure this “summer melt” doesn’t happen to your RO. For example, the Michigan State University Retirement Organization hosts a summer barbeque for our members at a nearby older adult living community. It is a good opportunity to socialize with friends. Another of our summer events is to meet at a local minor league ballpark for dinner, a game, and fireworks. It is usually a perfect summer evening. The means to stay connected to RO members in the summer are almost endless. This edition of AROHE Matters highlights some of the ways ROs in different regions stay connected with their members during the summer months. I hope you will pick up some ideas you can use in the future to maintain connections with your members.

Summer is also a good time to look forward, identify priorities, and plan strategy. Your AROHE Board is doing just that. We are carefully reviewing our financial situation and identifying new programming with the potential to bring in added resources that will enhance our sustainability as we move forward.

Our overall goal is to transform retirement. Summer is a good time for us to carefully review our performance and plan next steps in pursuit of that goal. You can rest assured we are doing just that.

Best wishes,

AROHE President Roger Baldwin

AROHE Idea Exchange Webinar

Creating Social Connections -
How Can Retirement Organizations Help?

Recording Now Available

Based on a study from Harvard, the number one challenge people face in retirement is not being able to replace the social connections they had through work. Carla Perissinotto, MD, MHS, professor of medicine and geriatrician, University of California, San Francisco presented an AROHE Idea Exchange Webinar on "Health impacts of Social Isolation and Loneliness." Many of the programs that retirement organizations (ROs) offer help to alleviate loneliness and social isolation as part of a larger goal of keeping retirees connected to the community and intellectual stimulation they enjoy. Following Dr. Perissinotto's talk, webinar participants broke into small groups to discuss ways retirement organizations can help retirees navigate the challenges faced by loneliness and build social connections. Watch the webinar recording.

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Retirement Organizations and 
Social Connections

UCLA Retirees Association Hiking Club

Take a hike! Hikes are the perfect ticket to bring members together. Who doesn’t love the outdoors? If you feel like a walk up in the hills or on the flats, surrounded by lush foliage or grasslands, with flowering brush and amazing views of the city or coastline – all the while chatting and laughing with other friendly retirees – then the UCLA Retirees Association (UCLARA) Hiking Club is the place for you! We welcome all levels of hikers and provide a brief description of each proposed trail, so the hiker can choose the hike most appropriate for their level.

Hikes range from several miles on flat surfaces with interesting landmarks for beginners (Baldwin Hills Overlook Trail and Stoneview Nature Center), to 3-4 miles with sweeping views of the ocean while on steep and rocky dirt trails for experienced hikers (Temescal Waterfall Trail or Los Liones Trail). The best part of hiking is the camaraderie and good feelings you develop with fellow fun-loving retirees, enjoying the sights, sounds and fragrances of being outside and your body moving. Hiking is good for both body and soul, and it is free to members of UCLARA! What could be better?

Michael Heafey, Program Chair at UCLARA, manages the registration, insurance, UCLARA website hike announcements and communications with hikers and can also be counted on to shepherd the group on the trail. Ayesha Dixon, ERRC Director, manages the announcements and advertises the hikes on the ERRC website, Calendar, and blast e-mails. Carolyn Lew-Karon and Elizabeth Juncosa are co-hike leaders and have fun leading and following our UCLARA intrepid hikers. (https://www.retirees.ucla.edu)

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UCLA Retirees Association - Indoor Activities as Well

Keeping our members engaged is a mission-critical objective. Although the UCLA Retirees Association has a series of monthly programs during the school year, we have additional programs during the summer as well. The desire for in-person activities, especially now that the pandemic has been subdued, has shown to be very important to all those who attend our programs. They want to see and speak with their friends and colleagues in a non-electronic atmosphere.

We have a monthly in-person activity (might be an art museum tour, a walk in a garden, a specialty attraction, or a hike in our local mountains). We continue with virtual activities as well (like an art lecture, a historical tour, or an architectural tour) because our members are far-flung or have transportation issues. We believe these activities are important for the well-being of our members.

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Clemson Emeritus College Coffee House Sessions

Do you remember going to a coffee house and listening to music played by folk groups? If you were around in the 50s, it might have been Beatniks playing the tunes. Clemson University Emeritus College launched the Coffee House Sessions with that thought as inspiration. Knowing the University held many talented musicians among its emeritus faculty, it was relatively easy to encourage them to come to drink coffee and play various instruments. We have a large section of guitars; one is a specially designed Japanese 15-string creation that sings in the classical style. Other instruments include a piano keyboard, mandolin, drum, tambourines, and harmonica. Everyone sings along to blues, pop, folk, and country selections the members bring to share. We also do music history vignettes of different bands and musicians. These sessions are very well received, a lot of fun, and continue to grow during the summer.

Contact: Joel Greenstein, Clemson University Emeritus College, AROHE LiaisonIEJSG@clemson.edu

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USC WorkWell Center begins WalkUSC

The USC WorkWell Center has begun WalkUSC, a walking program intended to encourage a culture of movement and social connection on campus. WalkUSC offers an opportunity to improve your health, get outside, and socialize with others across campus and remotely, and enjoy a sense of community while supporting our Unifying Value of Well-being. WalkUSC is for people of all fitness levels and abilities. To sign up, retirees can visit the WalkUSC webpage, which has details on walking routes and days and times of walks.

Contact: Julie Chobdee, Jchobdee@usc.edu.

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UC Berkeley Renegade Retirees Picnic

What does our retiree association do during the summer? We have a picnic. The UC Berkeley Retirement Center (UCBRC) hosted the first picnic about 10 years ago. It was held at a regional park in the Berkeley hills. Members of the four retiree associations that collaborate with the UCBRC participated – UC Retirees Association at Berkeley, UC Berkeley Emeriti Association, the EX-Ls from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and PARRA (President’s and Regents’ Retiree Association) We had 70-80 people at the first few, including the time there was a rainstorm, and we were all huddled under tents, demonstrating retirees ‘strong interest in staying connected to each other. UCBRC provided the burgers, hot dogs, and drinks, with the attendees bringing sides, salads, and desserts.

However, the Retirement Center hit a bump when the University advised that they could no longer use university funds for a potluck due to liability issues. That didn’t stop a group of retirees from organizing the picnic on their own which has now been labeled the Renegade Retirees’ Picnic. It has been held annually except for 2020 when COVID hit.

We did decide to move forward with the picnic in 2021 because it was outside. Because of continuing COVID concerns, the park district decreased the allowable numbers at all the sites. Because of these limits, we instituted a reservation system. Within the first 24 hours of the registration being open, we had 75 registrants for a site approved for 50. We found another site and ended up with 80+ attendees. The attendees agree that it is great fun to reconnect with “old” friends and colleagues and look forward to it each year.

Contact: Patti Owen, president, UC Retirees’ Association at Berkeley, plowen@berkeley.edu

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Connecting KPU Retirees - 
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Retirees Association

The Kwantlen Polytechnic University Retirees Association strives to keep members connected by several means. We hold our annual general meeting (AGM) in the month of April each year (KPURA is a young organization - just 5 years old!) Our hybrid AGM this spring (in- person and on Zoom) allowed us to deliver a warm welcome for our members and friends to join us in upcoming events, both in-person events, and virtual events.

We focus on three types of events - in person activities such as walking tours or visits to special places primarily to learn something new. We also have occasional in-person gatherings at local breweries or wineries which focus more on a social gathering idea, and thirdly we host zoom/virtual sessions for both presentations and social gatherings.

For example, on June 8 we hosted a walking tour in Vancouver’s Chinatown (the largest in Canada, and third in North America after San Francisco’s and New York’s). The tour guide is an expert on both the history and current efforts to revitalize and secure the heritage of our Chinatown for our broader communities. On June 28 we offered an armchair (virtual travel) to South Africa, hosted by one of our members (from a recent trip). The virtual programs have been well received by our mobility impaired members and friends, and also by those that retired ‘away’ from KPU locations (5 campuses).

We typically offer eight to 10 events per year based on surveys and personal discussions with our members. KPURA also has launched a Facebook page and we find the majority of our members and friends have joined that to help them keep current with events (past and future) and other topics related to our university, organization, and members. http://www.KPU.ca/retirees

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Retirement Trends and Resources

UC Berkeley Emeriti Academy Video

The UC Berkely Emeriti Academy of 125 interdisciplinary members aims to facilitate emeriti engagement and provide infrastructure support to work collaboratively on interdisciplinary projects for the university and the region. While a number of UC Berkeley emeriti continue strong connections in research and teaching with their department or school, others are looking for new ways to contribute as they transition from active service to their “next career phase.”

This video features emeriti involved in Academy-sponsored projects. They talk about the meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration that allows them to stay connected to campus, make new friends and give back by mentoring and supporting students.

Contacts: Cary Sweeney, MS, director, UC Berkeley Retirement Center, cary.sweeney@berkeley.edu and/or Sigrid Mueller, program manager, UC Berkeley Emeriti Academy, sigridmueller@berkeley.edu.

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Older Adults in Sexual & Gender Minority (SGM) Communities

Millions of older adults in the United States are part of sexual and gender minority (SGM) communities and identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, queer, and/or intersex. People in these communities often face unique challenges that can impact their health and well-being throughout life. For example, experiencing bias, prejudice, or discrimination from both social interactions and through institutional practices.

Learn more about research to better understand health disparities and improve health outcomes for SGM older adults.

Tips for Caregivers - National Institute on Aging

Caregiving comes with many responsibilities, and it can be difficult to stay organized when it comes to caring for a loved one. NIA offers free worksheets to help caregivers coordinate care and keep track of caregiving responsibilities and needs. Worksheets include:

  • Coordinating caregiving responsibilities
  • Home safety checklist
  • Questions to ask before hiring a care provider
  • Questions to consider before moving an older adult into your home

Explore all of NIA’s worksheets for caregivers.

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Meditative Moment

"Connections to others binds us to life."

Patrick Arbore, EdD, founder of the Friendship Line (350,000 calls per year) and Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention and Grief Services, described at his recent memorial service as an “angel walking among us.” Patrick Arbore, S.F. man who created the Friendship Line, dead at 75 (sfchronicle.com)

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Come Join Us in Transforming Retirement

Since 2002 AROHE has supported both institutions and individuals by transforming the experience of retirement – the preparation, the transition, and post-retirement programming – into a smooth and productive life-course change.

To renew, join or learn more, visit arohe.org or contact AROHE by emailing info@arohe.org or calling (530) 219-1049.

Tell Us Your Story

AROHE members are encouraged to submit stories that reflect activities, news and events from your retirement organization and campus that highlight the value retirees bring to their colleges and universities.

The September issue will reference retirement organizations programming for the beginning of the academic year. Tell us your story of how you will welcome and meaningfully engage retirees this fall.

Articles are limited to 250 words. A relevant picture (jpeg or png) and web links are valued additions to any article.

Share your story for the September issue of AROHE Matters by August 21, 2023, to Patrick Cullinane, editor, at pcullinane@berkeley.edu.


AROHE's mantra is "Transforming Retirement."

AROHE is a nonprofit association that champions transformative practices to support all stages of faculty and staff retirement, their mutually beneficial engagement, and continuing contributions to their academic institutions. By sharing research, innovative ideas, and successful practices, AROHE emphasizes the development and enhancement of campus-based retiree organizations and programs which support this continuing engagement in higher education.

Copyright © 2020 AROHE. All rights reserved.
Contact email: info@arohe.org
Contact phone: 530-219-1049

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