Making Winter Easier

persephone in winter

Wintertime is stressful for a lot of people. The cold is just one aspect. For many others it is the darkness of the shorter winter days that becomes overwhelming. Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) is a category of chronic depression exhibited by extreme mood shifts strictly to the darkness and grey days. Of course, depression is just one of several reasons that the wintertime can be hard, especially for older adults. We believe that community living could be just one possible answer for many people.

People suffering from SAD sometimes need additional support as well as medical help. They may have a hard time with shopping or day to day chores. Even when someone doesn’t suffer from SAD, winter chores can be difficult. Shoveling snow can be a major problem for someone who has medical conditions such as arthritis or breathing issues. By living in community there are shared resources that can help everyone. For example, if you share one household with several other older adults the cost of having the driveway shoveled is minimal per person than if each household member lived separately. Or one person in good health could volunteer to take on the task. Other members of the community can pitch in to provide help with shopping, cooking, pet care, or whatever chores need to be accomplished.

Beyond the physical needs of community members, there is also emotional support. Simply knowing that others are there can go a long way to help someone dealing with the effects of chronic depression. Depression is a difficult disorder and can complicate relationships but everyone is stronger together than they are apart.

Are you feeling the effects of a cold winter’s day and a long, dark night?

Imagine how this would affect someone living alone.

Concordia Lutheran Ministries posted this insightful article in December 2014 about depression among older adults. In their example they suggest that senior living centers can be a means of support. At Women for Living in Community, we want to take that one step further. Let’s stop shoehorning all people of a certain age into senior centers or nursing homes and start making changes for ourselves. Let’s become each other’s support systems in the winter and all year long!

We would love to hear from you? Do you have experiences with SAD or have other issues with the winter? Do you think community living can play a part of alleviating some of the wintertime stress from individuals? Respond in the comments or join the conversation on Facebook!

Women For Living in Community