Library creates ‘Retirement Bootcamp’ to help older residents navigate next stage of life

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., is pictured Aug. 20, 2015.

For people beginning to imagine the future as a retiree, or those already embarking on that next stage of life, the Lawrence Public Library hopes to help ease the way.

The Lawrence Public Library Foundation learned July 16 that it had been awarded a $25,000 Impact and Capacity Grant from the Kansas Health Foundation for a two-year series of programs known as “Retirement Bootcamp.” The initiative is designed to help retirees find purpose, friends, financial support, health and happiness, said Kathleen Morgan, executive director of the foundation.

Scheduled to begin this fall, the boot camp kicks off with a two-hour program called “Keep Retirement Weird.” The event will include a variety of speakers and entertainment. Andrea Hudy, the assistant athletics director for sport performance at the University of Kansas, will offer advice on foot care, Morgan said, and a representative with the Peace Corps will be on hand to explain programs for older volunteers. Another session, organized like speed dating, will help match people with volunteer opportunities, and a representative with the U.S. Census Bureau will be on hand recruiting 2020 census takers.

“They love retirees because they are so responsible,” Morgan said of the Census Bureau.

While geared for those 55 and older, Morgan said the free programs would be open to everyone.

The number of retirees will be growing in coming years. The Kansas Health Foundation reported that 12% of the Kansas population is currently 65 or older, and by 2030 that number will rise to 25%, Morgan said.

“For a lot of folks, when you spend several decades in a career it’s hard to switch gears,” she said. “As people age, they can feel isolated, and the library is a perfect community center to bring people together.”

Local organizations have been promoting Lawrence as an attractive place for retirement, but it’s important to actively help people through the transition, Morgan said.

For the two-year program, the library is partnering with the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County. In addition to the support from the Kansas Health Foundation, the events are made possible through grants from U.S. Bank, LMH Health, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.


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