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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According to the National Institute on Aging, a geriatric care manager is usually a licensed nurse or social worker who specializes in geriatrics and can help you and your family identify needs and find ways to meet them. They are especially trained to help find resources and services to make your daily life easier. They will also work with you to create a long-term care plan that will ease the transition into various forms of care, such as home health, assisted living or other senior living opportunity.


If your family members live some distance away from you, a geriatric care manager can serve as a liaison, checking in on you and making reports about your health and wellness to your family. If necessary, he or she will advise faraway family members about observed needs after an in-home evaluation. The geriatric care manager may make suggestions about care personnel or medical services. The geriatric care manager may even go on a doctor’s visit with the client and help him or her understand what the doctor says and advises. They will also report that information back to the family.


A geriatric care manager is especially helpful when it comes to making difficult decisions. Often families are reticent to discuss issues such as long-term care or end-of-life decisions – such as what to do in case an older loved one becomes incapacitated or asking about funeral preferences. With their training and empathy and resourcefulness,

GERIATRIC CARE MANAGERS HELP FAMILIES WITH AGING ISSUES

a geriatric care manager can help families talk these things over and make plans that are acceptable to everyone.


Perhaps one of the most important things a geriatric care manager can do for you is to relieve some of the stress inherent with caring for and dealing with an aging parent. Until you are in the situation of making medical and other life decisions for someone, you are probably not aware of the resources available. A geriatric care manager knows who to call and when to call them and can guide you in making the best choices for your loved one’s care as they age.


Geriatric care managers charge by the hour. Most insurance plans don’t cover these costs and Medicare does not pay for this service either. Your local senior citizens center or your physician can help you find a geriatric care manager. Or go to the Eldercare Locator Website (https://eldercare.acl.gov) to do a search in your area or where your loved one lives.


When interviewing a geriatric care manager, you may want to ask: