2015-09 From the President: Triage and Plans

September 2015: The "Triage Age" and UMRA Plans

One of the exciting things about being an UMRA member is connecting with University colleagues who have retired and who are enthusiastically seeking knowledge, contributing expertise, and pursuing avocations. It is always fun to learn about the hidden talents that emerge when one is freed of a paycheck. (Who knew that Crystal played a bassoon or Elmer would write a novel?)

Much has been written and discussed about what it means to be retired. With the health and vigor of those well over the age of 65 or 70 these days, “retirement” is more like a commencement—the beginning of a new phase of life. Some have suggested that we need a new name for this phase; I found that challenge intriguing. I thought about the popular word “tweeners” for the awkward age between childhood and teenagers. Recently retired folk are also in an awkward age between full-out employment and a quite more reflctive age. We are indeed “tween ages.”

Popular songs suggest we are in the autumn or third phase of our lives —a tri-age, or to push the pronunciation, a triage age. According to the American Heritage Dictionary 5th edition, 2013, triage is “a process in which things are ranked in terms of importance or priority.” I suggest that at this age we are busy re-ranking the priorities in our lives; we are triaging activities, possessions, locations, and even friends. So, I would like to name this the triage age. Perhaps some readers of this column will devise another name, and if so, please send it to me at jkinsey@umn.edu.

The plans for UMRA activities for 2015-2016 are robust. We are sponsoring the rejuvenation of JOIE (Journal of Opinions, Ideas and Essays). This will give all of you an opportunity to publish your ideas in an electronic journal dedicated to exploring the ideas of the great minds at the University of Minnesota. Many thanks to John and Judy Howe who have taken on the task of editing and managing this publication, mounted on the University of Minnesota Libraries “Open Scholarship and Publishing Services” platform. For an introduction go to https://www.lib.umn.edu/joie.

Another new initiative this year comes from our very caring Cares Committee led by Earl Nolting. since Dr. Robert Kane, director of the University’s Center on Aging, spoke to UMRA last April about the diffiulties of navigating the complexities of our health care system, the committee has been searching for a way to assist UMRA members confronted by care-giving decisions. They will soon be launching a pilot project in collaboration with the University’s Center on Aging in which Dr. Kane will train a small cadre of “Care Guides” to be a resource to colleagues. If you would like to talk to someone about volunteering for this training, please contact Earl, enolting@umn.edu.

By popular demand “Finances During Retirement” workshops are in the making. Three workshops that deal with financial management and decisions around money management for retirees are planned for our post-luncheon workshop series. Thanks to Vern Eidman for his leadership in this effort; we can look forward to some new insights on this topic.

UMRA provides opportunities for a variety of activities from volunteering through the URVC (University Retirees Volunteer Center), to book discussions, to a photo club; and the fild is wide open for anyone who wants to start a new activity or informal group. Let’s talk.

My goals for this year are that participating UMRA members fid exciting and useful activities, find opportunities to stay engaged with their University, and find enduring friendships. On the administrative side, we shall continue to better defie our offiial relationship with the University and engage additional volunteers to sustain our communications and activities.

Jean Kinsey, UMRA President