HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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AAA HAS MANY BENEFITS FOR OLDER DRIVERS

mirrors need to be adjusted and if you have the neck mobility to check your blind spot. Sometimes adaptive devices can help you better use your vehicle’s controls.


Perhaps most important, a driver improvement course is available for seniors. AAA’s Roadwise Driver course can be taken online at your own pace in the comfort of your home or in a classroom with other older drivers. Some of the topics discussed in the class include distractions, drowsiness, aggressive driving and road rage; managing visibility, time and space; alcohol and medications; and comfort and safety tips. When you finish the course, you’ll be up to speed on the latest driving techniques and the constantly evolving vehicle technologies. You may also earn perks such as discounts on insurance premiums and safety systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems.


AAA was actually the organization that invented driver training in 1935, so its legacy is to help you be the best driver you can be at any age. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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The American Automobile Club (more familiarly known as AAA) offers more than just towing services, especially for older drivers. One of AAA’s goals is to keep seniors driving for as long as safely possible. The organization provides transportation options for seniors who are not comfortable driving and also gives them an opportunity to get a professional driving assessment. An occupational therapist who is a driving rehabilitation specialist will point out physical or mental issues you may have and create a customized driver’s training plan so you can continue navigating the road safely. The professional assessment is even more important if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that can affect driving, such as diabetes, a sleep disorder or stroke; if you have experienced any near misses or minor crashes; or if friends or family have

questioned your ability to drive. This assessment should be done routinely just as you have an annual physical with your doctor.


Another excellent resource is CarFit, a program developed by the American Society on Aging in collaboration with AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association. This program utilizes a 12-point check to see how well you and your car work together. The collaborating organizations stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt and understanding why proper steering wheel tilt, head restraint placement and proximity to the airbag are essential to good driving. The assessment will look at how far you are from the steering wheel, your position in relation to the gas and brake pedals, whether the