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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Kentucky Requirements. There is no legal requirement to have both a living will and durable POA, but it is advisable. Under Kentucky law, your surrogate may not be an employee, owner, director or officer of a health care facility where you are a resident or patient, unless that person is related to you more closely than first cousins once removed or is a member of the same religious order. Whether you use the State Attorney General’s simple form for both or have an attorney help you draft your own, it will need to be signed in the presence of a notary public or two witnesses. A blood relative, a person who is going to inherit your property, an employee of a health care facility in which you are a patient, your attending physician or any person directly financially responsible for your health care cannot be a witness or notary.


FORMS


LEGAL HEALTH DOCUMENTS ASSURE YOUR WISHES ARE FOLLOWED

information; and get court authorization, if required, to obtain or withhold medical treatment. Your agent is legally required to follow your instructions whenever possible. You may find it helpful to make your health care surrogate your financial agent as well, which is not a power automatically given to a health care agent. A durable POA for finances can manage your money when you are incapacitated.


Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD). A PAD expresses your wishes about accepting or refusing mental health treatment. PADs cover things such as medication preferences, electroconvulsive therapy and involuntary commitment to a mental health facility. You may also appoint a health agent (surrogate) to make decisions for you in accordance with your instructions. The PAD must be notarized or signed by two competent adult witnesses. The witnesses cannot be employees of your health care provider or any of their relatives. Your agent must make decisions as he/she thinks you would make them (substituted judgment), not what he/she thinks is in your best interest. Your surrogate can override your instructions only if there is substantial medical evidence that following your instructions would cause you harm.

Having health documents in place can assure your wishes are clear. They can save your loved ones from added anguish in the aftermath of your illness or death. Without your guidance in writing, your health care treatments and last wishes could be left up to estranged family members, doctors or even judges.


There are several types of health documents you should consider drawing up. These include:


Living Wills. A living will outlines the types of medical treatments you do and do not wish to receive when you are unable to direct your own medical care. You can refuse or request life-prolonging treatment or artificial feeding or hydration (tube feeding). You can outline your organ or nursing home to which you are admitted.


Powers of Attorney for Health Care (Health Care Surrogate Designation). A durable power of attorney (POA) for health care is a document that appoints someone you trust to be your health care agent. This person is legally allowed to make necessary health care decisions for you. Your agent can consent to or refuse any medical treatment that affects your physical or mental health (with some exceptions); hire or fire medical personnel; make decisions about the best medical facilities for you; visit you in the hospital or other facility even when usual visiting is restricted; gain access to medical records and other personal

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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