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The powerful effects of woodworking for seniors​

Hobbies are important to have. Besides having more to look forward to in your day, it also has the benefit of keeping stress at bay. Now, there are many factors that contribute to stress, which in turn also lead to a myriad of health problems especially when it’s chronic. As a senior, who may or may not be retired, one is not automatically exempt from it, but the sources may just be different. Having a hobby will help reduce this undesired effect by challenging the mind in varying degrees and potentially making connections with people who understand—woodworking is a hobby you can get on, and is just one of the few to reap many benefits besides being a money saver! Physical activity helps keep stress under control. Guess what? Woodworking is a low-impact exercise. Sure, it involves a bit of lifting and maybe a little walking around, but carving while seated can also lead to shedding calories (generally, all activities related to carpentry do). If you hate physical exertion but grow to enjoy woodworking, then the hobby becomes more ideal: being in tip-top shape will be a breeze. It’s not all physical because the mind is taken care of as well. Researchers from Mayo Clinic found that engaging in the crafts such as woodworking will promote a healthier memory and decrease chances of having a mild cognitive problem that may lead to dementia by at least 45%. And no, the researchers didn’t follow adults who started the hobby earlier in their lives, the 256 people they monitored were all over 85. The point here? It’s never too late to be interested in woodworking. Mental health problems can be just as big a problem as cognitive decline, and these, too, can be a cause of stress. Thankfully though, woodworking can alleviate the pain caused by such issues because it soothes the nerves and gives one reason to be proud for creating something that can be useful and lasting. Woodworking is not the complete solution, just to be clear, but its therapeutic effect can make each day more rewarding. Plus, it can add more things that are of value to either you or your community. Finally, woodworking can lead to fulfilling relationships, which can lessen stress. Carving wood does not have to be done alone, as seniors can join classes in care facilities that bring together both pros and amateurs. All you have to do is simply reach out to ones nearest you. If you don’t have your tools, then this is something to bond over with fellow beginners. If woodworking has been a long love of yours, then you may get even more from volunteering. Don’t ever underestimate the satisfaction derived from imparting your knowledge on a topic when you’re an expert! And who knows, these may lead to friendships that can exist outside the workshop. Classes provide plenty of chance for social interactions to prevent loneliness, and if you need more convincing, being socially active decreases the likelihood of cognitive decline by 55%.  Robert JohnsonGuest writer Photo by Will Suddreth on Unsplash 

Don’t Retire; Pivot​

There’s a wealth of information already out there that demonstrates why it’s healthier not to retire. But you’ve worked at the same company or in the same field for 30+ years. Unless you absolutely love what you do (and only a very lucky few can honestly say that), then you’re probably bored with it at this point. You’re ready to retire, or at least you think that you are.  But there are health risks associated with retirement that aren’t typically associated with getting older- you’re less likely to have mental health issues, for example, if you keep working rather than retire. If it were only caused by ageing, then there would be the same issues regardless of employment status.  There is also evidence that staying in the workforce longer can impact physical health, as well. Studies have shown that those who are retired are more likely to suffer from heart conditions than those of similar age who are still working.It doesn’t even have to be full-time. In fact, part time is probably a best-of-both-worlds situation, with as little as 10 hours of work a week providing the above mentioned benefits. It’s not an either/or situation. You don’t have to continue putting in long hours to reap the rewards of working, nor do you have to fully retire to get a break. 10 hours of work a week can be a considerable source of income if the pivot to semi-retirement is managed properly. Use the relationships you’ve made over your career to work into starting a consulting firm- a small operation, easily managed from home. But what about legitimacy? If you’re working from home, people will likely just think you’re retired and not serious about your career pivot; even though you’re not working the same hours you did before, there’s no reason for you to look any less professional. There’s a perfect solution to this issue. One that lets you pivot into your own business, while avoiding most of the start up costs without any trade-offs of legitimacy or professionalism. It also allows you to enjoy your time that you’ve worked so hard for; a Virtual Office. Take advantage of your time, and use the relationships you’ve built to keep you active and keep your mind sharp. Keep yourself healthy, and don’t retire; pivot.  Guest Post by The Rostie Group  Photo by Jim Reardan on Unsplash 

The Challenge of Social Isolation (Part II)​ 

Social isolation is the lack of meaningful and sustained interaction with other people and it can have a profound impact on seniors, affecting the mental and physical health of the individual and even leading to depression. This can be the result of a number of feelings: for example, not wanting to be a burden to the family, or loss of independence as we may need help from others for transportation or the activities of daily living. Social isolation results in a vicious circle: it can arise as a consequence of experiencing poor health and then it contributes to a further decline in emotional, mental, and physical health. Senior citizens with mobility issues may stay socially connected through visits from family and friends or through interaction with caregivers or volunteers visiting seniors. But when interaction in person is not an option, a regular call over the telephone can allow the person to interact with others. In summary, the social network around seniors plays an important role in keeping them healthy and alert as they age.​

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The Challenge of Social Isolation (Part I)​ 

We constantly seek social interaction. From childhood to adulthood, we practise our skills in connecting with people. However, our ability to socialise depends on physical and psychological factors. Physically, we can socialise because it is easy for us to go to places where we can meet with people. On the psychological side, we tend to connect with like-minded people. But as we age, some factors affect our ability to stay socially connected. On the physical side, we may struggle with mobility issues, or family and friends moving to a different city, or friends passing away. Psychologically, our ability to stay socially connected may diminish as we experience major role changes, like retirement or the death of a spouse. Indeed, we may lose our sense of purpose. It is well documented that staying mentally active and socially connected is key to healthy aging.​ 

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What is People & Topics? 

People & Topics has been created to provide an innovative solution to the challenge of social isolation among senior citizens.  We do it by emulating the dynamics of a book club: a group of people interested in a specific topic get together and exchange points of view while a facilitator keeps the conversation on track. Through People & Topics, seniors join the discussion group from their homes over the telephone and enjoy interaction with others interested in the same topic. Every week, we have a great selection of discussion topics about Arts & Entertainment, Memories, Current Affairs, Hobbies, and History. From the comfort of their homes, seniors can enjoy a 50-minute group discussion by phone. Our moderators ensure that everybody has the opportunity to express their opinions in a respectful environment.​

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