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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Research indicates exercise may speed up the healing and recovery process in older persons.


Talk to your doctor about your diet. Lose weight if you are overweight. You may need nutritional supplements before and after surgery or perhaps see a dietician.


Make a plan for recovery. Most older people need to go to inpatient rehab at a rehabilitation facility. Set this up before having your surgery.


Make physical therapy your top priority. Those who do are less likely to have complications during recovery and tend to be able to walk sooner.


Determine where you will go for PT. Find out how long you will need it and what it will cost. Sometimes PT comes to your home.


SOURCES:


American Society for Surgery of the Hand (www.assh.org)

Health in Aging (www.healthinaging.org)

Medline Plus (www.medlineplus.gov)

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (www.niams.nih.gov)

SENIORS AND JOINT REPLACEMENT

and how long recovery is likely to take.


Ask about your options. Are you a candidate for a less invasive surgery? Minimally invasive hip replacement surgery involves fewer, smaller incisions. Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery involves a small cut. These options generally require shorter hospital stays as well as shorter recovery periods, but usually they are available only if you are in excellent health and are younger. Those who have other health problems and are older may require the traditional surgery.


Inform your surgeon about all your medications, including over- the-counter meds, vitamins, herbs and other remedies. You may need to discontinue some of these before and after surgery.


Ask your doctor to recommend safe and appropriate exercises to get in shape before surgery. Stretching, aerobics and lifting weights are generally recommended. One consideration is practicing exercises that strengthen your upper torso and arms. This will help if you have to use a walker after surgery.

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

Some arthritic (joint) pain may be controlled with small lifestyle changes, by application of heat or cold, taking a pain reliever such as Tylenol or physical therapy (PT). However, if your joint pain makes it hard to sleep, keeps you from doing day-to-day activities such as visiting with friends or going to church or if it makes it difficult to perform everyday activities such as walking up stairs, you may require surgery.


Nearly 700,000 Americans have hip or knee joint replacement surgery every year, and that number is rising with the maturing of baby boomers. In joint replacement surgery, the abnormal or diseased bone and its lining structures are removed and a new metal joint is put in their place. This replacement allows the joint(s) to move without pain. There are a number of different types of joint replacement procedures: shoulder, ankle, elbow, finger. The most common type of joint replacement surgery in seniors involves the hip or knee.


Here are some recommendations to consider if you are planning joint replacement surgery:


Ask questions. When you are referred to an orthopedic surgeon, ask the surgeon what benefit this procedure will have at your age and health. Ask about the risks involved, what the surgery entails, what preparation is needed, the kind of anesthesia that will be used, the length of hospitalization and the kind of physical therapy you will receive after surgery. Also ask what pain management options are available