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 drug affects alertness, memory and/or coordination and ensure the medication does not increase the risk of falls.


Psychotherapy may also be effective for depression. It helps by teaching new ways of thinking and behaving and changing habits that may contribute to the depression, according to the NIMH.


Depression, even in the most severe cases, can be treated. If you think you have depression, make an appointment with your health care provider. He or she may refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor or social worker.


There are numerous things you can do to help your depression. The NIMH recommends:


  1. Trying to be active and exercising.
  2. Doing something you used to do that was enjoyable, such as going to a movie.
  3. Setting realistic goals.
  4. Breaking up large tasks into smaller ones and doing just what you can as you can.
  5. Confiding in someone about your feelings.
  6. Trying not to isolate yourself and letting others help you.
  7. Postponing making important decisions until you’re feeling better.


Expect to get better slowly. Know you will not just “snap out of it,” but positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment. Continue to educate yourself about your illness. Let your family and friends know how you are doing and what they can do to help. They may feel helpless in the face of your depression if they are kept in the loop. Make getting better a team effort.


Sources:


RECOVERING FROM DEPRESSION

The sooner depression is diagnosed and treated the better you will be. Many older individuals believe in handling emotional problems on their own and are reluctant to seek help. MHA says only 38 percent of older adults believe depression is a health problem and many are more likely to “handle it themselves.” Only 42 percent would seek help from a professional.


As you get older, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says you may go through many changes — deaths of loved ones, retirement, stressful life events or medical problems. It is normal to feel uneasy, stressed or sad about these changes but after adjusting, many older adults feel well again.


Depression is different. It is a medical condition and it interferes with daily life and normal functioning. Most adults who are depressed need treatment to get better. Treatment generally consists of medication such as antidepressants, but people over 65 must be cautious about taking drugs because of a higher risk for bad interactions, missing doses or overdosing. Older adults also tend to be more sensitive to medications. When beginning a medication, your doctor should speak with you and perhaps your family about how the drug affects alertness, memory

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN and a freelance writer. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines. Her Web site is at

www.normajean.naiwe.com

more articles by jean jeffers

The shades are drawn at the windows. The daily newspapers are stacked outside the door unclaimed. Mildred has not ventured outside in a week. Her appetite is poor, and she picks at her food when she does eat. She is sleeping poorly, awakening early in the morning, unable to return to slumber. She is tired, listless and no longer interested in her daily activities.


Mildred is suffering from depression.


Mental Health America (MHA) says more than 2 million of the 34 million Americans aged 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. Depression can vary from mild to severe and can include: