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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The U.S. Census Bureau reports over the past decade the number of unmarried senior partners has increased by 70 percent. Seniors cohabit for many reasons. These include love and friendship, inheritance concerns and an anti-marriage attitude because of a previous unhappy marital experience.


For many seniors, finances are the biggest issue precluding matrimony. Married people usually receive legal rights and protections and have certain obligations that unmarried people don’t get automatically. When it comes to issues such as hospital visitation, inheritance, immigration, owning property, taxes, survivors’ benefits and Social Security, marital status matters.


Seniors need to know how matrimony may affect pensions and Social Security. The Social Security Administration says you cannot receive survivor’s benefits if you remarry before the age of 60 unless the later marriage ends, whether by death, divorce or annulment. If you remarry after age 60 (50 if disabled), you can still collect benefits on your former spouse’s record. When you reach age 62 or older, you may get the retirement benefits of your new spouse. But if you were in a long-term marriage that ended in divorce and you are receiving alimony, you would most likely have to give it up when you remarry.  

LEGAL ISSUES FOR UNMARRIED SENIORS LIVING TOGETHER

If you’re considering cohabitation as a senior, here are some tips:


HARLEENA SINGH

Harleena Singh is a professional freelance writer and blogger who has a keen interest in health and wellness. She can be approached through her blog (www.aha-now.com) and Web site, www.harleenasingh.com. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

more articles by harleena singh