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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arrangement: You’ll have some needed downtime and your care receiver will benefit from the added stimulation that comes from a visiting companion or meeting new people and trying new things at a program. In-home options include respite provided by home health care agency staff, an individual hired under a private arrangement or a trained volunteer (for example, someone from the Alzheimer’s Association). There are also adult day care programs and residential care homes that have short-stay options so caregivers can take a vacation. To learn about these resources, contact your local office on aging or the non-profit organization associated with your care receiver’s disease.

REAP THE REWARDS OF AUTUMN INITIATIVES

Self-Care Strategies

Since self-care can improve your effectiveness and longevity as a caregiver, consider the following strategies.


LISA M. PETSCHE

Lisa M. Petsche is a social worker and a freelance writer specializing in boomer and senior health matters. She has personal and professional experience with eldercare.

more articles by lisa m. petsche

Fall is a great time for implementing change. There’s a fresh-start feeling and renewed sense of purpose and productivity that accompany the early part of a new school year, ingrained in us from our youth and perhaps also from years of raising children. As well, moderating temperatures typically result in an increase in energy this time of the year.


As a family caregiver, although you may not be returning to school, doing some homework in the coming weeks can pay off in terms of improving your well-being and that of the person you care for. Here are some suggestions: