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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HOLIDAY VISITS WITH SENIORS

MENTAL HEALTH.

Does their behavior seem abnormal? It is hard to gauge someone’s emotional state over the telephone. Watch for signs of depression and anxiety, such as withdrawal from activities and a change in sleeping habits.


Are they maintaining their physical appearance? A lack of personal hygiene can be a sign of dementia along with confusion, paranoia and agitation. It can also be a sign of dehydration or a urinary tract infection (UTI), which are very common in seniors.


How is their memory and ability to plan? If you are constantly having to repeat yourself, remind your senior of things or if your senior is having trouble making plans or analyzing a basic situation, a trip to the neurologist may be in order. Uncertainty and confusion with previously familiar tasks are signs of cognitive decline.  


Are they using poor judgment? Look for late notices in the mail. Listen to your senior answer phone calls. Do they respond to spam calls? Talk to them about the different scams in the news. Poor judgment can be a sign of mental decline.

LIVING SITUATION.

Has large amounts of clutter appeared? If the person was always very neat and organized previously, this may be a concern. Look for unopened mail, long overdue chores (piles of laundry or trash), expired foods or medications. All this may be a sign your senior is struggling to complete everyday tasks alone.


How are the pets doing? Significant weight loss or gain in pets may mean your senior is forgetting to feed them, is unable to go to the store to purchase their food or may be unable to walk them for exercise. Are the pets well behaved? If they are out of control, they may be a fall risk. They could even accidently knock down your senior.


SOLUTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time of family togetherness. This is a great time to talk to your loved ones about the plans for their future. Ask about Powers of Attorney. If they have signed them, find out who has been appointed, where the papers are located and when was the last time they were updated. If your loved one does not have a power of attorney, or if it was signed more than two (2) years ago, it is time to have it reviewed by an Elder Law Attorney. The Power of Attorney is our greatest weapon in defending and protecting our seniors.

120 N. Mill St., Ste. 201 Lexington, KY 40507

Call Today: 859-281-0048 www.bgelderlaw.com

Amy E. Dougherty

PARTNER

Carolyn L. Kenton

MANAGING PARTNER

Mary Ellis Patton

SR. ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY

Katherine E. Finnell

ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY

The holidays are a great time to enjoy visits with your loved ones. It’s also the perfect time to check in on your senior friends and relatives. Unfortunately, age-related decline can happen quickly and many times seniors are skilled at concealing their problems. We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to pay close attention to physical health, mental health and their living situation.


Things to be on the lookout for include:


PHYSICAL HEALTH.

Has there been any significant weight loss? This could be a sign of illness, dementia or depression. It can also be a sign of energy loss if the senior does not have the energy to shop, cook, and clean up after meals. Are they having issues with balance or mobility? Paying close attention to the way they move and walk may show signs of pain or neurological problems. This may make them a significant fall risk. Many seniors do not report falls to loved ones or medical professions out of fear they may be prompted to change their living situation or have to use an assisting device such as a cane or walker.


How much medication are they taking? Taking handfuls of pills may be a sign of a medical condition you were not aware of. It may also be a sign the senior is not managing their medication correctly. Being aware of what they are prescribed and what medical professionals they see may be very important in the future.