Friday, September 20, 2013

Senior Winter Concerns

Senior Winter Concerns:   Cooler nights in September are truly appreciated by young and old. The cooler fall weather is a refreshing alternative to summer’s scorching heat.  Of course, as the coolness turns to cold and wet, then, we experience messy winter weather usually starting around Thanksgiving.  Years ago winter weather began around Halloween or somewhere near the end of October, first of December.  In the last few years, winter has been mild and beautiful in Virginia.  Other states have been hit a lot harder.  This year may be a big one for us as we are due a blizzard or two.
         As a child, I remember bundling up with sweaters and coats over our costume, while we headed outside for some house-to-house trick or treating, or perhaps a Halloween event somewhere like in a mall.    The last few years have presented us with a mild, warm weather, which I would think makes it more fun for trick or treators.  Those hay rides and scary mansions or Halloween trails can be cold and scary in bad weather, if not impossible to maneuver during a snow storm or sleet event. Now, although hurricanes, storms, snow, and freezing rains come and stay with us throughout the winter, December is usually mild with January presenting the coldest month.   Outdoor winter sports are not for everyone.  Keeping busy with indoor projects such as crafts, home decor, restoration of antiques, etc., at home can make the cold winter months fly and keeps us cozy as well.     
         Usually, retail stores already have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise out on shelves in late August, early September.  They push the sale of seasonal, or holiday merchandise months ahead of the actual event.  That is probably a good thing.  Although it is not even October, if one gets his/her shopping completed before the bad weather starts, well then, it is a safer and less frustrating shopping process. During holidays, traffic is extreme and parking lots are overflowing.  Everyone has experienced parking lot rage at one time or another.  That is when you see a parking spot, but another car quickly grabs it before you do, no matter how long you have been waiting or circling the parking lot.    Perhaps this year will be a more relaxed shopping experience.  It could be, if shoppers could stagger the shopping days early on, versus getting it done just before the actual holiday.  
        Many of us feel depressed or apprehensive over the holidays.  One’s comfort level in regards to weather and shopping are of utmost concern to many of us.  As one gets older, we are more susceptible to changes in weather temperatures and cannot take the stress of shopping.   Many seniors are not able to go outside at all, much less going shopping due to medicines or other health problems.  Many folks worry about the cost of healthcare, utilities and groceries causing depression and mixed emotions about winter holidays.   They say that getting at least twenty minutes of outdoor sunshine and some type of exercise per day is very healthy for everyone even during the winter.    In my layman’s opinion, contact with other people is most essential for older folks’ good mental and physical health along with the sunshine.    My suggestion or solution would be, for seniors to have more hangouts and neutral places to go to that affords some sort of social gathering other than in the library or church.   Somewhere they could relax and have a drink or activity and conversation with others.  Perhaps dance and enjoy music or even crafts and dinner.  
 Our area is surely lacking in a community center with events for seniors.  This would be true, if bingo, churches, clubs, malls and community associations are not your bag. How do those of us who are home bound and alone, cope with sitting day-by-day at home with only the television, phone and Internet for company?    In addition, some neighborhoods are not safe to go outside day or night.  Yes, I believe, if there were places specifically oriented to seniors and young people for just hanging out, it would be most beneficial.   Of course, pros and cons apply.  These hang-out places would have to be fairly close by, with good music and accommodations for a wide variety of older folks’ diverse physical needs, especially the handicapped. Cons would include the complexity and expense associated with running something like this, as well as transportation to and from the facility.
  It’s complicated and expensive to even dream about a senior hangout.    Not to mention the complexity and liability to owners.    No wonder why there are not any hang-out places for seniors.     Perhaps, someone, somewhere, somehow, will think about how to create a setting for older folks, where they can sit and chat with peers, and keep company or form a common fellowship with each other.     Keep the faith.