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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money required to earn the degree, whether the field is in demand and hiring and if all the work will yield a good return on investment. Also, consider the cost versus your future earning potential before retirement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good resource to check career trends in all fields and industries.


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


All things considered, there’s nothing standing in the way for older adults to continue learning if they wish.

More and more older people are returning to school these days than at any other time in history. Longer lifespans with better health, a desire for career advancement or career change and the wish to learn new things are just a few factors behind this surge of people seeking education in their golden years.


Of the 21 million people enrolled in a post-high school program in 2014, 2.3 million were between the ages of 40 and 64, an increase from 1.9 million in 2007, according to Pew Research and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This may not seem significant, but consider that by 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. population – more than 70 million people – will be aged 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2005 calculation.


Older college students are called “non traditional.” But as the trend increases and the baby boomers continue to age, non traditional is becoming more standard. Non-traditional students are defined by certain characteristics, which include age; high school requirements (GED, no SATs); enrollment patterns (not going to college immediately after high school; not getting a master’s or Ph.D. immediately after earning the undergraduate degree); and financial and family status (having dependents, a spouse, working full time while enrolled, being a single parent, etc.). Using these criteria to identify non-traditional

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students, EducationDrive, referring to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, says the majority of undergrads are now non traditional. In fact, 74 percent of all 2011-2012 undergraduates 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 go back? Your decision will depend on your personal situation and the motivation behind your desire. People who are still working and already have a degree or degrees but want to advance in their careers have many options. If you need another degree, consider your age, the earning potential an advanced degree brings and the number of years you plan to continue working. 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 your potential institution well. If it’s attached to a brick-and-mortar university, you can enroll worry free.


If you want to change careers, again you’ll have to consider your age, the time and

ANGELA S. HOOVER

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

more articles by Angela S. Hoover