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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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and variants arise, it’s important to assess your risk of contracting the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some conditions put people at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19 as well as developing severe illness if they do get infected. You are at high risk if you have a weakened immune system, live in crowded conditions or are part of a historically underserved community. This includes people who don’t have insurance or access to healthcare. They may have a harder time getting vaccinated or receiving reliable treatment for other medical conditions. You are also at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 if you have underlying medical conditions, such as heart or kidney disease. Other high-risk factors include:



A strong immune system is an important factor in reducing your risk of contracting COVID-19. Your immune system may be weakened

ASSESSING YOUR COVID-19 RISK

due to cancer, HIV or an autoimmune disease. Please consider getting one of the available vaccines. The vaccines help your immune system fight off the virus. COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration are highly effective in preventing serious COVID-19 outcomes, including severe disease, hospitalization and death, and they offer protection against known variants, such as the Delta variant. If you’ve already had the vaccines, ask your physician about getting a booster.


People in higher-risk groups should take extra precautions to avoid infection. This includes getting the vaccines and continuing to mask up and practice social distancing when in public. You should be sure to follow your treatment plans for any underlying medical conditions. Keep your appointments and take your medications. You may be able to have telehealth visits. Talk to your health care provider about getting a larger supply of your medications to avoid extra trips to the pharmacy.


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