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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Obviously, seniors who need a higher level of services that only a nursing home can offer or those with complicated medical conditions that require regular doctor visits should not consider a cruise ship retirement. But for relatively healthy seniors who want a fun alternative to living alone, a cruise ship may be the ideal – and cheaper – retirement option.

SENIORS SAILING THE SEVEN SEAS

passengers of all ages. Most have all-inclusive food offerings available throughout the day. The entertainment offerings are probably more diverse on cruise ships than those at assisted living facilities. In addition to comedians, musicians, plays and group performances, ships offer learning enrichment activities, such as culinary arts, wine tasting, photography, computers classes, foreign languages and more. Exercise facilities, pools and activity programs also abound.


Ships have onboard pharmacy services and infirmaries, comparable to ambulatory care centers, that are staffed with doctors and nurses usually available 24 hours for emergencies. Medicare pays for covered services provided on cruise ships if those services are obtained within six hours of a U.S. port. Since most insurance policies exclude coverage outside the United States, adding a traveler’s insurance plan is advisable when cruising.


The nightly cost of a cruise averages around $100 or less. A 12-night cruise of the Southern Caribbean is $779 on average per person, which breaks down to just $65 per night. Senior discounts, points for frequent cruises and booking with a rewards credit card can keep costs even lower, especially if you opt out of pricey extras such as alcohol and shore excursions.

High adventures on the seas and relaxing on a cruise ship make a great vacation for singles, couples or families. Many cruise lines offer distinct ships designed for these different travelers. Multi-generational or family cruises are popular during summer months.


Not all ships allow full-time residents onboard, but many cruise lines make accommodations for seniors who want to become long-term passengers and remain on the same ship for months or even years at a time. Even better, when comparing costs, permanent cruising can be a cheaper alternative to assisted living.


Assisted living facilities are distinct from nursing homes in how much direct care is given. Nursing home residents have more severe health concerns, such as dementia or being wheelchair-bound, so they receive help with the most basic of daily living activities. But assisted living facility residents maintain their own independent apartments or rooms and only receive limited help for things such as medication management, transportation, housekeeping services, entertainment and meals. Healthcare services are typically not included at assisted living facilities. Average costs for an assisted living facility was around $3,750 per month in 2017, according to the Genworth Cost of Care survey. This is around $45,000 annually.


Cruise ships offer similar amenities as assisted living facilities to

ANGELA S. HOOVER

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

more articles by Angela S. Hoover