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Letter: Impact of Darkness on Seniors

With Daylight Savings time upon us once again, we have experienced the early onset of darkness these past few weeks – a sure sign that winter is on our doorstep. While many may enjoy this aspect of the season – cozy log fires, hot chocolate and early nights – this annual event can have an extremely significant impact on others, particularly the senior residents of our communities.

More hours of darkness at the end of a day often keeps seniors housebound, especially those with visual impairment or limited mobility and holds back those who are unsure of driving –  a lifeline to the outside world.  Isolation can lead to depression and depression can bring on a whole host of other concerns.

This is why there is a genuine need for respect, compassion and support among neighbors. We can help minimize the challenges facing our seniors by first realizing that no act of kindness is too small and that even a small act can make a world of difference to the person you are helping. Perhaps this might involve offering to pick up a quart of milk or a loaf of bread as you hop in your car to go to the market or brushing the snow from a walkway so the front door remains accessible. Interest in whether someone is experiencing a heating problem is extremely helpful and remember a simple, cheerful “Hello, how are you?” can brighten the darkest of days! If you have concerns about an older neighbor, your local agencies – in particular, your senior center, can offer invaluable assistance.

During this holiday season and through the chill of winter, please remember senior friends in and around your community and take some time to check in on them. This will enable us to build a great, well-deserved support system around them which can make the difference between struggling through, surviving or thriving through another year.

Carol Waldman - Executive Director, Glen Cove Senior Center