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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Of course you worry about your parents or other elderly loved ones when you’re not able to be with them. And most of the time when you call and ask them how they’re doing, they’ll tell you they’re fine. But are they really? What signs should you look for to clue you in that things aren’t as rosy and problem free as you might have been told?


Here are some things to be aware of:


CHECKING IN ON AGING LOVED ONES

You may need to step in and take control of the situation. Be prepared for push back and even hostility. Some older people prize their independence and resent even the most well-intended attempts to help. You may want to enlist the aid of the person’s primary care physician to evaluate their needs and the condition of their health or call on a geriatric care manager for guidance and resources. Depression is a very real concern for older adults, especially with the isolation required by the pandemic. Their physician can help diagnose and design a treatment plan if necessary.


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