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Staying healthy, wealthy, wise in hard economic times

Posted on January 25, 2010

Everyone is challenged by the current state of the economy and by the rising costs of health care. At the same time, there is a major change in the face of the aging population as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age.

W. Andrew Achenbaum, professor of history and social work at the University of Houston, will present an assessment of the implications of these cross currents for society and for those who deliver health and social services for the elderly. He is the featured speaker at Grand Valley State University’s Art & Science of Aging Conference. His speech, titled, “Harvesting the Fruits of a Lifetime: Lessons for living and thriving in tough times,” explores the unexpected economic dislocations and social changes babyboomers have experienced.

The conference, “Staying Healthy, Wealthy and Wise in Hard Economic Times,” is scheduled for Friday, February 12, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., in the DeVos Center, 401 W. Fulton St. on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Sessions will feature research and practical applications on topics related to health, wealth and wisdom. There will be presentations on dealing with depression, maintaining social support and promoting health through western and eastern modalities. There will also be presentations on avoiding scams, finances and legal planning, and finding affordable and appropriate housing.

“We believe this conference has something for everyone,” said Priscilla Kimboko, professor of gerontology and chair of the Gerontology Initiatives Group at Grand Valley. “We believe we all can learn lessons from the older generations who have lived through and learned from a lifelong series of challenges, and that these lessons are important to our ability to adapt and thrive in these tough times.”

For more information, including a full schedule of events and registration information, visit, or call (616) 331-7123, or GVSU News and Information Services at (616) 331-2221.

W. Andrew Achenbaum earned a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan and spent much of his career at the U of M Institute of Gerontology in Ann Arbor. In addition to his appointment at the University of Houston, he holds three appointments in the University of Texas Medical Center. The author of five books, his first book, Old Age in the New Land, was selected by CHOICE as Academic Book of the Year. Achenbaum served as past board chair of the National Council on Aging and has been active in the Gerontology Society of America’s committee on the Humanities and Arts and Aging since its inception in 1978.


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