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 trips are often termed “leisure tours.” Optional group activities are planned for any who want to participate, but if you want to rent a car and do some independent sightseeing, you are free to do so.


“It is a fellowship thing and a security thing for people who are older,” said Dale. “I plan the trip, but I also plan flexibility for those who want to do things on their own.”


Faye Boggs, a widow and longtime member of Broadway Baptist Church, takes trips with LCS frequently. In these senior years of her life, she does not want to go anywhere by herself. That’s why she appreciates LCS. “Everything is planned out for you,” Boggs said. “I like something like that.”


LCS has a set of procedures in place to deal with medical emergencies that may occur during a trip. Dale says he feels very fortunate that they have never had any member of a group break a bone or get so sick that they had to be left behind in a hospital while the group returned to Lexington. He recalled one trip when a woman traveler fell ill. Trip directors took her to a local hospital where she was treated but not admitted. Group members accompanied her home by airplane, rather than having her ride the bus back. She recovered and it all ended happily.


The biggest trip on the horizon will be to Hawaii Oct. 5-14, 2016. The group will stay at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui. Optional sightseeing tours include everything from a trip to Volcano National Park to a whale- watching cruise, all discounted and planned exclusively for those traveling with LCS. The cost is $1,799 plus air fare. Dale says he has reserved 24 seats on a flight to Hawaii. For more information, call Dale at (859) 312-6295 or call the Broadway Baptist Church office at (859) 276-2592 and leave a message for him.

If you like to travel but have reached a stage in life where you don’t wish to go alone, Lexington Community Seniors (LCS) has good news for you. The organization does all the planning, makes all the arrangements and provides the safety and security of traveling with a group. You pay one fee up front that includes the entire cost of the trip.


LCS offers everything from day trips to nearby attractions to two- week trips to Hawaii. LCS travelers have been to the Mediterranean and the Greek islands. LCS plans a cruise about once a year and a trip to Branson, Mo., about every two years. The group also travels to the Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, Pa.


LCS began about 20 years ago when David Dale, who at the time was minister of music at Gardenside Baptist Church in Lexington, got a call from a staff member at nearby Beaumont Presbyterian Church. He was looking for a bus big enough to take a group from his church on a trip. The two invited several other churches to join their seniors on trips. One thing led to another and now 18 different churches are full-time participants. The LCS Leadership Team, which includes a member from each participating church, meets once a month to plan activities. Dale is LCS’ director. He is also associate pastor of worship and senior adults at Broadway Baptist Church in Lexington.

LEXINGTON COMMUNITY SENIORS: TRAVELING ON YOUR TERMS

“It is a ministry with much good fellowship,” Dale said.


Once a quarter, LCS has a luncheon. Speakers for these occasions have included a Miss America, a working jockey and Mitch Barnhart, director of University of Kentucky Athletics. As many as 125 people attend the luncheons.


The group has “seniors” in its name, but Dale said, “Age is not an issue at all.” Couples, singles and anyone who wishes may go on a trip. Sometimes three generations of one family travel together.


Dale makes it clear LCS is faith-based. Trips are usually planned so travelers will not be gone on a Sunday since most people prefer to be at their home churches that day. If the trip lasts over a weekend, Dale finds a place for the group to have their own worship service on Sunday morning. Occasionally the group will worship at a local church. There is no requirement that travelers be members of a participating church or have any church membership at all. But all participants must understand Christian standards will be upheld.

MARTHA EVANS SPARKS

Martha Evans Sparks is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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