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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Another important shot for seniors combats pneumonia, which can also be very dangerous for older adults. Two vaccines have been approved to prevent complications from infections caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumovax (PPSV23) is recommended for all adults over the age of 65 years. You’ll only need this shot once. The second vaccine, Prevnar 13 (also called PCV13), is recommended for older adults with certain risk factors such as immune suppression.


Older adults tend to do well after receiving vaccines, so you really don’t need to fret about the possibility of having an adverse reaction. Reactions to vaccines, such as fever and muscle aches, are signs the vaccine has activated your immune system.


Be sure to discuss all your vaccine options with your primary care provider.

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to ease, seniors need to get back on track with their vaccines so they can continue Living Well 60 Plus. Vaccines save lives and can prevent serious illness and death. They are especially beneficial for seniors because as you get older, your immune system stops working as efficiently as it did when you were young. This process is called immune senescence. In addition to a weakened immune system, older adults are more likely to have chronic illnesses such as heart, lung or liver disease. Having one or more chronic illnesses is called multimorbidity and makes you susceptible to a variety of maladies.


Here are some other vaccines seniors should consider getting:


Tetanus/whooping cough. - This vaccine is currently given as a combination vaccination with diphtheria, which can cause a serious nose and throat infection, and whooping cough. Every adult should get a tetanus vaccine every 10 years. You may also receive the tetanus vaccine right after you have an injury or wound that puts you at increased risk of developing tetanus.


Hepatitis B. - Most people are vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus as children. This virus causes liver inflammation and is passed from person to person through body fluids, most commonly blood.  

KEEP UP WITH YOUR VACCINES - DONT THROW AWAY YOUR SHOT!

Several vaccines are recommended for seniors. At the moment, it is important to prioritize the COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Older adults have a higher risk of suffering and dying from the coronavirus. The vaccines that have been developed are safe and effective for seniors. You should get your vaccines as soon as you can and take both as scheduled. The only reason you should not get the vaccine is if you have had a serious allergic reaction after being exposed to your first dose or you have had a serious allergic reaction to one of the components of the vaccine in the past.


A flu shot is also important for seniors. There is a particular extra strong flu vaccine made specifically for seniors. This stronger vaccine helps seniors make more antibodies that fight the flu virus more effectively.


If you’ve ever had chicken pox, you need to get a shingles shot. The chicken pox virus (varicella zoster virus) may reactivate in your nerves and cause a painful rash. Shingles infection is rarely deadly, but it can be painful, and sometimes the pain is long- lasting. A recombinant herpes zoster vaccine was approved for use in adults over the age of 50 years in 2017. It is 90 percent effective at preventing shingles infections.