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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potential before retirement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good resource to check career trends in all fields and industries.


Maybe you’re already retired but need to earn money; in this case, the odds are probably in your favor because there are many nationwide programs that entitle older students to earn degrees tuition-free – including at the University of Kentucky.


If you just want to learn and do not require credits, a certification or a degree, you are in luck. Many universities, including Ivy League schools such as Yale, Harvard, MIT and Stanford, as well as other universities and organizations, offer free online courses. Some offer the ability to pay for certification or credits.


All this considered, there’s nothing standing in the way for older adults to continue learning if they wish. It’s already becoming more prevalent, and soon it will be the new norm.

BACK TO THE BOOKS - OLDER COLLEGE STUDENTS

non-traditional. In fact, 74 percent of all 2011-2012 under-graduates had at least one non-traditional characteristic, and about 33 percent had two or three, as reported by ECampus news.


If you’re feeling the call to return to campus, clearly you are not in the minority; but should you? Deciding will depend on your personal situation and the motivation behind your desire.


Those still working who already have a degree(s) but want to advance in their careers have many options. If you need another degree, consider your age and the earning potential the advanced degree brings and the number of years you will still work. Certifications are a quicker and less expensive option for many careers. Both paths can be achieved in person or online. Online learning is no longer stigmatized, but be sure to research the institution well. If it’s attached to a brick-and-mortar university, you can enroll worry-free.


If you want to change careers, you’ll have to consider your age, the time and money required for the degree, if the field is in demand and hiring and if all this yields a good return on investment when considering cost versus future earning

More and more older people are now returning to school than any other time in history. Longer lifespans with good health, career advancement, a career change and the desire to learn are just a few factors for this phenomenon.


Of the 21 million people enrolled in a post-high school program, 2.3 million were between ages 40 and 64 years in 2014, an increase from 1.9 million in 2007, according to Pew Research and the National Center for Education Statistics. This may not seem significant, but consider that by 2030 – only 10 years from now – 20 percent of the U.S. population – more than 70 million people – will be aged 65 years or older, according to a U.S. Census Bureau calculation.


Older college students are called non-traditional students, but as the trend increases and the baby boomers continue to age, non-traditional is really becoming more standard. Non-traditional students are defined by certain characteristics, which include age, high school requirements (G.E.D.; no SATs), enrollment patterns (not doing so immediately after high school; not getting a master’s or Ph.D. immediately after earning the former degree), and financial and family status (having dependents, a spouse, working fulltime while enrolled, being a single-parent, etc.). Using these criteria to identify non-traditional students, EducationDrive, employing data from the U.S. Dept. of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, says the majority of undergrads are now

ANGELA S. HOOVER




Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine