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A Different Kind of Winter

Barbara Bodzin, Executive DirectorBarbara Bodzin, Executive DirectorWinter is upon us and along with the colder weather and shorter nights comes the winter blues.  This winter is a little different as we are in the midst of self-isolation due to a global pandemic.  A recent study found that U.S. adults were reporting levels of depressive symptoms at a rate three times greater than an average year.  However, the silver lining this year is that there are more and new avenues of support and programs for you. Medical experts are urging us to make a plan now to help keep the blues at bay.

LifePath is here with special supports aimed at helping older adults get through the winter and isolation blues.  

When the sun comes out, take full advantage of it by opening up the curtains and sitting in its warmth inside.  This will help boost Vitamin D production to help your immune system. When the dark skies abound, use full spectrum light bulbs to brighten your home. Light therapy has been shown to increase positive mood.  Create a schedule for yourself that includes making healthy meals, socializing, albeit at a distance or remotely, and being active, both mentally and physically.  It is best to create a schedule and stick to it since routine helps keep your mood stable.  Within your schedule, create a list of tasks, even small ones like making your bed, and do it every day.  Then cross it off the list.  This type of activity will foster a sense of accomplishment and success which are mood boosters.

LifePath is here with special supports aimed at helping older adults get through the winter and isolation blues. Take advantage of programs to keep you in touch with others such as our Phone Pals program, through which  volunteers call participants to chat.  Placing a friendly phone call is an easy and productive strategy to both check on the well-being of someone and have meaningful conversations.

Keeping up connections virtually and by phone can allay some fears that may be causing those blues or increased stress levels. Reach out to someone you care about and put yourself at ease about how they are doing.  Also, video calling technology is at our fingertips. Employ this tool to be able to put your eyes on a loved one who you may not be seeing in person in an effort to keep each other safe and healthy. LifePath can help make this happen and assist you in finding ways to increase your use of technology, and access others in the safety of your home through virtual connections. 

If you are an LGBTQIA+ older adult, consider joining the Rainbow Elders program, a group which meets via Zoom weekly to socialize and check in. Another option is to consider volunteering for one of our many program opportunities.  You can choose to volunteer in ways which don’t require leaving your home, or you can choose to provide vitally needed assistance, such as driving others to medical appointments, assisting with grocery shopping, or delivering Meals on Wheels.  We provide volunteers with  personal protective equipment and have established processes to keep you safe.  You will be helping yourself as you help others, since volunteers have a greater sense of purpose and volunteering is an ideal way to combat depression, stress, and anxiety. 

Another excellent way to care for yourself is to enroll in one of LifePath’s Healthy Living programs which teach health strategies for people living with chronic conditions. You can do so either with a computer or a simple telephone.  Start your wellness today by visiting LifePath’s Healthy Living Home Workout Playlist on LifePath’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/372R5Xb.

If you are struggling with coping this winter consider contacting our Elder Mental Health Outreach Team, a program coordinated by LifePath, which serves older adults age 60 and older, whose challenges are impacting their emotional well-being. If you or someone you know is in need of support, please call LifePath and speak with a Resource Consultant at 413-773-5555, X1230; 978-544-2259, X1230; or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn about more options.  We are here to help!