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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Kindle can read books or documents out loud. Verizon Insider’s Guide highlights TapToTalk, a subscription-based app loaded with 2,600 images to help communicate when verbal skills are impaired, such as when someone has had a stroke. This augmentative and alternative communication solution uses pictures instead of text.


Hearing loss or visual impairment might make the usual alarm clock useless. Makers are aware of the growing Boomer issues and are adding bed shakers, flashing lights, ascending alarms spanning multiple frequencies and more. Check out the Harris Communications Pro Vibrating Clock for a top-of-the-line option.


New assistive devices are surfacing every day, as aging Boomers become more verbal about their needs. Disabled entrepreneurs continue to launch new items that came out of a personal “aha” moment. Keep searching for the items that will work for you – and if you can’t find it on the market at the moment, consider creating it yourself.

HELPFUL GADGETS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER

It runs discreetly in the background and won’t track your phone’s location until you tell it to, so there’s no need to worry about your privacy while the phone is in your possession. It works on any Android or iOS device, as well as any Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.


For non-smartphones, a GPS tracking service called AccuTracking costs $6 per month (less if you subscribe for a year). The service uses your phone’s built-in GPS to track the location and works with a wide variety of phones. As long as your phone is GPS enabled, this service does the trick.


And speaking of GPS, it’s difficult enough to follow printed directions and keep your eyes on the road, even for young whippersnappers. The talking GPS directions on a smartphone or stand-alone GPS can be a lifesaver … literally. While the directions aren’t perfect, as we all know, things have vastly improved. Today’s GPS apps or devices allow you to just say “Navigate to 387 Kirchoff Drive” and off you go!


Tablets offer all sorts of apps and uses that make life easier. Cool Reader and

DORIS SETTLES





Like it or not, with age comes some level of difficulty in handling the world around us. Even if our disability is temporary, such as during recovery from a knee replacement, it’s nice to know there are some nifty tools out there that can help us perform tasks easily.


Everybody’s seen the reacher/grabber device. But did you know they now come with magnets, suction cups, sticky pads or claws on the ends? They telescope and fold, are available in a variety of colors and even have different types of pistol grips. Telestik brand is the Rolls Royce of this type of assistive device, but look over the options on Amazon to get exactly what you need.


Today’s cell phones are fast replacing the necklace or bracelet “panic button” device for many seniors. All companies offer a low-tech phone with calling and texting only that can be easily programmed to call 911 with the single push of a button. Almost all recent phones (less than eight years old) have GPS tracking on them, which makes tracking a lost spouse or parent (or stolen phone) easy.


For smartphones of any kind, Prey is a free open-source anti-theft application that can be used for both computers and mobile phones. After you sign up for the service, you simply sync your devices with it, sit back and relax. The day your phone or spouse goes missing, all you’ll have to do is find a computer, log into your account and start tracking.