Winter brings richness to the lives of Minnesotans–family gatherings at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwaanza and special meals heightened by the scents of cinnamon and spices. Acquaintances are renewed, gifts are given and received and fond memories and stories are told of those already gone while excited greetings are extended to tender new babies. Seniors who are blessed with happy local
families enjoy the holiday season as a time to review their lives, understand their place in their family’s unique history and see the next generation prepared to move forward. But not all seniors are so fortunate. If they have little or no family or if family is separated by geography or estrangement, the holidays can be a time of special pain. All seniors must cope
with the physical effects of winter such as early darkness,
slippery sidewalks, and wind-driven cold. But lack of a healthy support system can make these tangible problems worse and
can cause significant depression, withdrawal, and even suicide if desperation becomes severe. Families, friends, and professionals working with seniors can do a great deal to ensure that seniors are safe from the challenges of winter and can enjoy the season and its holidays in good emotional and
physical health.