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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and remember the child as well. The love of a lost child unites the Compassionate Friends group and brings its members together.


To learn more about how this group can help you, visit www.compassionatefriends.org

The loss of a child is one of the most devastating experiences a parent may face. You are not only losing a child; you are also losing a piece of yourself, and your future will be forever changed.


Compassionate Friends is an organization that supports families that have lost a child. Its mission statement says: “When a child dies at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister or a grandchild and helps others better assist the grieving family.”


Over 57,000 children under the age of 19 years die annually in the United States, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Regardless of the age or the cause of a child’s death, it is still devastating. It is important for families to seek help and support when facing such a difficult time.


Compassionate Friends is available in hundreds of locations around the United States. Families come together and provide emotional support to one another. The people who are part of the group have gone through similar experiences and are also going through a grieving process. Everyone suffers loss differently based on culture, religion and the

COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS HELPS WHEN PARENTS LOSE A CHILD

relationship with the child who died. There is not a certain way to mourn the loss, so it is important to be surrounded by people who understand what you are experiencing. You can seek help through family therapy and support groups such as Compassionate Friends, but there are ways you can help yourself:


•  Try journaling your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it is easier to write what you are feeling instead of sharing it verbally with others.


•  If you feel comfortable, talk about your child. Share memories with people close to you. It may be painful at first, but it can also help you heal.


•  Engage in activities with your family. Try to maintain some sort of stability even though life may seem to be out of control. Your family can help you find that sense of control and some enjoyment.


Families mourning the loss of a child should allow the grieving process to take place. There is no timetable on how long you should grieve and it is important to be patient with the process. It is also good and helpful to find ways to honor

TANIQUA WARD, M.S

TaNiqua Ward is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by taniqua ward