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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 some of whom will be in their 80s in about a decade. For this group and the generations that follow, individuals will have fewer family caregivers to provide unpaid help. At present, there is no national solution, which means these challenges are up to individual states to address. Some states are doing better and some are doing worse in these matters.


The second evaluation of states’ LTSS services was done in 2014. Five areas were considered: affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and care, support for family caregivers and effective transitions. The highest ranking state across all five dimensions was Minnesota. Kentucky was dead last across the board. The 2014 LTSS scorecard results are available at www.longtermscorecard.org


The next LTSS Scorecard has not been released yet. For ongoing research and reports pertaining to long-term care and family caregiving, visit AARP at www.aarp.org/ppi/issues/caregiving.

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation, has released its 2016 Scorecard on Local Health System Performance (LHSP). This is the foundation’s second evaluation; the first report was released in 2012.


This year the scorecard measures changes in local area performance over recent years. For most localities, this is anywhere from 2011 to 2014.


The scorecard compared health care access and quality, avoidable hospital use, costs of care and health outcomes. Of the 300 communities evaluated, there was overall improvement in terms of fewer uninsured residents, better quality of care in doctors’ offices and hospitals, more efficient use of hospital and fewer deaths from treatable cancers. However, there are still vast differences between measurable areas throughout many local health systems. Fortunately, Lexington saw many improvements, including improvements in:


•  adults with age-appropriate vaccines;

•  home health patients who got better at walking or moving around;

•  home health patients whose wounds improved or healed after surgery;

•  risk-adjusted 30-day mortality among Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia or stroke;

•  colorectal cancer deaths;

•  hospital admissions among Medicare beneficiaries for

FOUNDATION RELEASES 2016 SCORECARD ON LOCAL HEALTH SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

ambulatory-care sensitive conditions for those aged 75 and older;

•  Medicare beneficiaries with dementia, hip or pelvic fracture or chronic renal failure who received a prescription drug that is contraindicated for that condition;

•  Medicare beneficiaries who received at least one drug the elderly should avoid;

•  Medicare 30-day hospital readmissions; and

•  Uninsured adults ages 19 to 64.


Lexington saw an increase in obesity, which was the most notable measure of decline from the 2012 LHSP Scorecard. For more details on this report, visit www.commonwealthfund.org


In addition to this scorecard, the Commonwealth Fund partners with AARP to produce the Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard. This scorecard is a multidimensional approach to measuring state-level performance in areas that assist the elderly, adults with disabilities and family caregivers. This evaluation system began in 2011.


One driver for creating the LTSS Scorecard is the aging Baby Boomer generation,

ANGELA S. HOOVER

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

more articles by Angela S. Hoover