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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so caught up in checking your phone that you forget to observe what is going on around you. “We always try to tell seniors to be aware of their surroundings and look for any type of suspicious activity while walking,” Gordon said.


Avoid carrying a large purse. If you will not be out for a long time, you may want to carry just an ID, a small amount of cash and maybe a credit card in your pockets. “Fanny packs are a great idea because they wrap around you and suspects do not want to fool with them,” Gordon said.


But if someone does try to snatch your purse, let them have it. “It’s not worth trying to hold onto it and getting hurt,” Gordon said.


Travel with confidence but be smart. “Anyone can be a victim at any point in time,” Gordon said. But if you stay alert and aware, you will greatly reduce your chances of having a dream trip turn into a nightmare.

SAFETY TIPS FOR TRAVELING ALONE

At night, seniors should never walk alone. “A lot of the bad things happen at night,” said Gordon. If you need to go out, have a friend accompany you. What may be equally as good as or better than the buddy system is having a furry friend by your side. “We suggest if you have a small animal to take him with you on your walk,” Gordon said. “A lot of times a dog picks up vibes and barks and alerts people, which deters criminals.”


Get to know your neighbors. Having a neighborhood watch can make a difference. “You should know who should and should not be in certain areas,” said Gordon. If you see a car that does not belong in your neighborhood, make a phone call to police. Many times citizens actually help the police in making arrests.


Look at people when you encounter them in your neighborhood. “Make eye contact with people,” Gordon said. “Sometimes you can get a good read on a person just by making eye contact.”


Technology can sometimes be distracting for senior walkers and others. Don’t get

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by jamie lober

Seniors are increasingly independent, which is a hugely positive thing. But when you’re out and about, especially when traveling, it’s important not to leave safety by the wayside.


If you’re hitting the road or taking to the sky this season for business or pleasure, remember to put safety first. Writing down and sticking to a checklist can make your trip go smoother. Keep critical phone numbers with you, such as close friends, family and doctors. Gather up all your identification cards, including driver’s license, insurance cards and AAA if you are a member. Keep medications as well as a list of what you take with you at all times – do not check it with your baggage. Basic first-aid essentials such as Band-Aids and something to help a headache or upset stomach can be beneficial. Since winter is cold and flu season, some people like to carry hand sanitizer or even wear a face mask to protect themselves when traveling.


Little actions that seem safe – such as communicating your plans with someone or posting them on Facebook – may actually be harmful.


“One of the things I see, especially with seniors leaving their homes, is that they will leave notes saying they are going for a walk and what time they will be back and someone breaks in the house during that time,” said Sgt. Donnell Gordon with the Lexington Police Department. Many even leave their doors unlocked, which makes them an easy target for burglars.