Editor Note: This issue of AROHE Matters highlights how retirement organizations and others are reimagining retirement and proclaiming new visions for life’s chapters after full time employment.

Issue Highlights
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President's Message

Happy New Year from AROHE. 2024 promises to be an interesting year for AROHE members and friends.

Reimagining Retirement: Exploring Your Life Plan

We begin the year with our three-part online series “Reimagining Retirement: Exploring Your Life Plan.” This free program sponsored by Fidelity will help you think strategically about your retirement and get the most out of this promising phase of life.

    Virtual Summit

    You will also want to participate in AROHE’s virtual summit scheduled for September. This event will examine the issue of the importance of social relationships, including Retirement Organization (RO) participation and volunteer service, to help enhance social connections, meaning and value to address the growing concern for loneliness. See the article in this issue for more details.


    We will offer webinars to help you connect with individuals from other retirement organizations and provide ideas you can use in service to members of your retirement organization (RO). Be sure to read AROHE Matters and visit the AROHE website for the latest information so you don’t miss any good opportunities.

    Service Opportunities

    As you consider how to reimagine your retirement, you might want to imagine yourself in a fulfilling AROHE role. AROHE needs board members and committee members to do the work of the association. It is a good way to meet interesting people from around North America, learn new things, and contribute to AROHE’s efforts to reinvent retirement. The call for nominations will be coming in March.

    Best wishes,

    AROHE President Roger Baldwin

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    AROHE News

    Register for "Reimagining Retirement"

    Reimagining Retirement: Exploring Your Life Plan

    Did you know that the retirement years can be the longest period in life for which most people have no plan? Maybe you have a vague sense of how you like to spend your time, but you would like to develop a more structured plan. We all have a desire to remain relevant as we grow older and creating a plan will encourage you to build on current achievements to leave a legacy.

    Psychologist Erik Erikson, who coined the phrase “identity crisis,” had some ideas about this when he theorized that one of the major developmental tasks of aging well is to remain generative by continuing to contribute to society in ways that are meaningful to you, expressing your personal values, and leaving a legacy that impacts future generations.

    AROHE’s new learning series will address these topics in three sessions:

    • Session 1 (January 30): University of Toronto Sociology Professor Michelle Pannor Silver will explore how investing time and resources into facilitating later career succession planning strategies can honor a lifelong commitment to one’s work. Dr. Silver, whose research focuses on work, aging, and retirement, and who authored the book, “Retirement and its Discontents,” will discuss the phenomenon that occurs when one’s work and personal identity are deeply intertwined, as they are for many who have had long careers in higher education.
    • Session 2 (February 13): Dr. Stacey Gordon of New York University’s Work Life will discuss steps will discuss steps to help you to define your personal values, develop new and meaningful relationships, and define goals that will help you plan for a new phase in retirement. She will also draw attention to the ways in which ageism can potentially interfere with our personal and professional goals for retirement.
    • Session 3 (February 27): A panel of retirees from the US and Canada will share their strategies used for rebuilding their networks in retirement, developing new social connections, and identifying resources to find purpose in this next chapter.

    All sessions are at 10 a.m. PDT, 11 a.m. MDT, 12 p.m. CDT, 1 p.m. EDT. Everyone is welcome to register for the learning series and there is no charge to attend. The sessions will be recorded and available for viewing on the AROHE website.

    For additional information, visit https://www.arohe.org/Reimagining-Retirement/.

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    Virtual Summit Fall 2024 - Early Notice

    Plans are underway for AROHE's next virtual summit (tentative date September 18, 2024), the topic of which will be “The Importance of Social Relationships for a Happy and Successful Retirement.”

    We are working to identify a nationally recognized keynote speaker who will share his/her expertise regarding the importance of social relationships to help enhance social connections, meaning and value to address the growing concern for loneliness.

    The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory in May 2023, titled "Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation," where he called attention to “the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country.” Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. Disconnection fundamentally affects our mental, physical, and societal health. In fact, loneliness and isolation increase the risk for individuals to develop mental health challenges in their lives, and lacking connection can increase the risk for premature death to levels comparable to smoking daily.

    Plan to join the conversation in fall 2024 to hear about this topic from a keynote speaker followed by a panel discussion and breakout sessions where you can share and hear from retirement organization (RO) colleagues and other retired faculty and staff throughout the U.S. and Canada about ways we can help each other find joy and meaning in our next life chapters after full time employment.

    If you have suggestions for speakers and/or topics for the breakout sessions, please contact summit chair Eric Hockert, AROHE board member and University of Minnesota Retirees Association President, ehockert@umn.edu.

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    Retirement Organization News

    University of Michigan Retirees Association Series -
    Your Retirement: Transitioning and Thriving 

    In the coming months, the University of Michigan Retirees Association (UMRA) will publish individual articles that when taken together, represent a reasonably comprehensive guide for individuals considering retirement. This series is designed to provide both potential and recent U-M retirees with a better understanding of the non-financial aspects of a successful retirement.

    Beyond the traditional focus on health insurance and financial management (the University’s HR unit already offers robust guidance in these areas), these articles aim to equip readers with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the social, emotional, and psychological transitions associated with retiring from work.

    Each monthly article in this series will focus on a different aspect of retirement. Tentative titles for the first three modules include:

    • Transitioning to Retirement: Understanding the Emotional Journey
    • Building and Maintaining Social Connections in Retirement
    • Finding Meaning and Purpose in Retirement

    Much of the content was developed with the assistance of Chat GPT. This extraordinary tool helped distill the enormous breadth of information worldwide into usable and understandable recommendations.

    For more information: Get Connected. Feel Connected. Stay Connected. (umich.edu)

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    Addressing Psychosocial Domains of Retirement

    The University of Cincinnati (UC) Emeriti Association and Center address the psychosocial aspects of retirement directly and indirectly. We consider psychosocial aspects as important to an enjoyable and meaningful retirement experience as financial considerations.

    Direct Approaches: Two association committees focus directly on retirement as a key life transition dependent to a great degree on positive psychosocial adaptation. The committees are Pre-Retirement Mentoring and Health and Wellness.

    • Pre-Retirement Mentoring pairs emeriti mentors with faculty members who are intending to retire in the immediate or near future. Pairs meet over one to three sessions to consider psychosocial challenges and supports typically associated with the retirement transition.
    • Health and Wellness provides a broad range of activities. Two of these include weekly Walks for Fitness, that center on physical and social domains, and a Book Club where members read and discuss fiction and non-fiction books, permitting a focus on intellectual and social aspects of health and wellness. Importantly, chairs of these two committees were invited to integrate psychosocial domains within the University’s Human Resources/AAUP workshops that are offered to faculty considering retirement. Previously, before our involvement, these workshops addressed financial and health care arrangements exclusively.

    Indirect Approaches. The association’s important other committees offer a slate of activities intended to actively engage and connect emeriti. These include art and cultural experiences, monthly presentations on topics of keen interest, and social gatherings in local pubs.

    For more information, contact Robert K. Conyne, Ph.D., chair, UC Emeriti Health and Wellness Committee. https://www.uc.edu/about/provost/associations/emeriti.html

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    Pre-Retirement Mentoring Program

    The University of Cincinnati’s Emeriti Association and Center have offered mentoring to all faculty members for the past four years. This free service, offered by present retirees, has offered personal consultation to more than 200 individuals contemplating retirement.

    The mentoring process involves a personal exploration of possible relationship changes, new hobbies, altered lifestyle, and consideration of health and well-being. Such issues as financial planning and medical coverage are sufficiently idiosyncratic that these topics are left to the pre-retirees’ discussions with their own financial advisors. Although mentors share their own experiences regarding their transition to retirement, our mentors are careful to avoid giving specific suggestions or directions to their mentee(s). Approaching the mentoring in this fashion not only avoids potential incompletely informed advice, it also removes a potential “weight-of-responsibility” from the shoulders of the mentor.

    To become a mentor, an emeriti professor only needs to commit to a careful review of a 53-slide PowerPoint training session. After training, each mentor is assigned two or three pre-retirement faculty members. Meetings are set up either in person or virtually. As one brief measure of the effectiveness of the program, former mentees have indicated an average rating of 4.78 (on a 5-point scale) in response to the following question: “How likely is it that you would recommend this consultation to a colleague next year?”

    For more information, contact Geoffrey Yager, Chair, Pre-Retirement Mentoring Program.

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    Retirement Trends and Resources

    Pathways Purpose Project

    Research Pathways to Encore Purpose Project -- A research collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Education’s Center on Adolescence and CoGenerate -- The Stanford University research team examined older adults’ life goals, prosocial values, and behaviors. Pathways Purpose Project - CoGenerate

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    "The Creative Age:
    Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life"

    By Gene Cohen, M.D., PhD, formerly director of the Center on Aging at the National Institute of Mental Health

    In this life-affirming book, Dr. Gene Cohen debunks harmful myths about aging and illuminates the biological and emotional foundations of creativity. He shows how the unique combination of age, experience, and creativity can produce exciting inner growth and infinite potential for everyone. Four later life developmental phases are presented: Midlife, Reevaluation, Liberation, Summing-Up, and Encore. "The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life," Cohen MD PhD., Gene D: 9780380800711: Amazon.com: Books.

    From Cicero to Cohen: Developmental Theories of Aging, from Antiuity to Present

    Cicero’s famous essay “On Old Age,” written in ancient Rome, was one of the first detailed depictions of the challenges and opportunities posed by the aging process. Several modern developmental theories of the life cycle have echoed many of the themes of Cicero, including the existence of unfolding life stages with specific tasks and transitions. Gene Cohen’s theory of human potential phases took middle age as a starting point and proposed an extensive structure for late-life development based on emergent strengths including wisdom and creativity.

    From Cicero to Cohen: Developmental Theories of Aging, From Antiquity to the Present | The Gerontologist | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

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    Is it a Cold, the Flu, or COVID-19?

    View this infographic to learn the common symptoms of a cold, the flu, and COVID-19. These are the frequently reported signs, but your symptoms may be more or less severe, or you may only have a few of them. 

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    Meditative Moment

    “The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”

    ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

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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 March issue of AROHE Matters will focus on volunteering, mentoring and the fall Virtual Summit. Tell us your story about your retirement organization activities to help retirees be meaningfully engaged with others through mentoring and volunteering and other activities to help retirees maintain and enhance social relationships and valued personal connections.

    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 March issue of AROHE Matters by February 19, 2024, to Patrick Cullinane, editor, at pcullinane@berkeley.edu.

    About AROHE

    AROHE's mantra is "Transforming Retirement."

    At AROHE, we know that higher education retirees are assets of society who reinvent, NOT retire from, life; positively impact their communities; and contribute to the greater good.

    AROHE 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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