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UNCW, AARP Partner On Initiative

By Jenny Callison, posted Oct 9, 2014
Update: This version of the story contains an expanded statement from CSB interim dean Rob Burrus.

Through a new collaborative initiative, faculty at University of North Carolina's Cameron School of Business will have the opportunity to explore the links between financial health and physical and mental health as adults age. The Secure and Healthy Retirement Initiative, announced earlier this week, is a partnership between the Cameron School (CSB), UNCW's College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) and AARP North Carolina.

"CHHS is going to tackle some health-related issues involved with aging. We believe there's a great link between financial health and a person's physical health," said Rob Burrus, interim dean of the CSB, in an interview Thursday. "Stress in financial life can impact physical health including higher incidence of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and many other ailments resulting from a lack of exercise, sleep, and healthy eating."

CHHS, after being approached by AARP North Carolina to collaborate on the intiative, invited the business school to become involved as well, Burrus explained.

He said that the CSB will provide some financial information to the project, which will address retirement challenges for the post-50 population in Wilmington and offer solutions to help people experience what AARP officials call a "secure and healthy retirement." The research will also look at how career-related involvement can give a retiree's life added meaning.

Retired people have lots of ways to contribute, he said, noting that the Cameron Executive Network, a group of several hundred veteran business professionals - many of whom are retired - have a great impact on CSB students through their mentoring and skills-building activities.

"They have a great impact on the future business world," Burrus said. "And there are numerous other examples, which we hope to develop."

At the initiative announcement Tuesday, AARP state director Doug Dickerson said that New Hanover County, like the "vast majority" of North Carolina counties, will have more residents over the age of 60 than under the age of 18 by 2020, according to the N.C. Division on Aging.

He said the partnership, outlined in a memorandum of understanding, is the first of its kind that AAUW has been involved with. The project will look at three key aspects to healthy retirement: health, financial resilience and personal fulfillment, he said.

"[Retirees'] health, economic security and purchasing power will be vital to their well being and the area's economy. How we support our aging population and their family caregivers is essential to the region's future prosperity," he said in a prepared statement.

The initiative will spur free workshops, some offered through UNCW's Swain Center for Professional and Continuing Development. Topics will include information about resources for family and caregivers, ways to save and better prepare for the financial challenges of retirement, help and mentoring for retirees who want to become entrepreneurs, fraud protection and planning for the future.
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