Kupuna Caregiver: Playing Pickleball to Alleviate Stress

Kupuna Caregiver

Finding a hobby is important for caregivers who are already under a lot of stress. Owen and Jan Tamamoto have taken up the sport of pickleball as a way to decompress.

“Recreation is just that, we recreate ourselves and we’re helping ourselves to build,” smiles Owen Tamamoto.

“You feel refreshed because you’ve had some time to build yourself,” says Jan Tamamoto.

Owen and Jan have been playing pickleball for 4 years.

“You need to take care of yourself so you can be around to take care of the people you love,” says Jan.

“It’s challenged us in some ways and it’s helped us grow in some ways. I’ve learned a new attitude,” says Owen.

The couple cares for Jan’s mother who stays with them. While owen helps out with his mom who lives in the neighborhood.

“It’s challenging because I know mom needs my help but sometimes I can’t help but get frustrated. So it’s extremely challenging which is why pickleball is so important,” says Jan.

If you’ve never played pickleball, it’s a mix between tennis and racquetball with a touch of ping pong.

“Pickleball helps us to develop ourselves mentally and physically. The social aspect is also great as you can see how many people are here. We just have a really good time meeting new people and making new friends,” smiles Owen.

The couple also loves the competition.

“She actually enjoys beating me,” says Owen.

“I perhaps play better when I’m playing against him because I want to beat him, but he’s a better player than I am,” says Jan.

“Actually she’s won more medals when she’s had a different partner. She has a partner upgrade without me,” says Owen.

But couples that pickleball together, stay together because Owen and Jan will soon be celebrating their 40th anniversary.

“Because we both play pickleball, we both have something in common, so we have similar friends, the experiences are the same, we can talk about it,” smiles Jan.

If you’re interested in playing pickleball, you can sign up at www.places2play.org

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