My client Betty, 82 years old, told me she was feeling sad with the start of winter.

“When the days are shorter and it’s cold outside, I don’t want to go out as much, and neither do my friends,” she said. “But I also hate feeling cooped up. Got any good ideas?”

It’s not uncommon for the change of seasons to impact people’s mental health. Lower levels of sunlight and less physical activity can contribute to feelings of sadness or depression. In Betty’s case, we brainstormed ideas that could help boost her mood.

“How about inviting your grandkids over to watch holiday movies and have popcorn?” I suggested. “Or maybe a craft night? You and the kids could make paper snowflakes and decorate the house. Or even make a gingerbread house. I saw a kit in the grocery store.”

Betty lived close to her two granddaughters, who were eight and ten years old. “I think they would enjoy that,” she said. “Plus, it would give my daughter and her husband a break. They’ve been working long hours and it’s a busy time of year. I’ll see if the girls want to have a sleepover with their Grammy!”

As it happened, Betty’s granddaughters thought the sleepover and doing crafts was a great idea, and they planned it for the following weekend. They made a gingerbread house, a popcorn garland for Betty’s small Christmas tree, and some holiday cookies that the girls took home.

The next time I checked in with Betty, she had another date on the calendar with her grandchildren. “We had so much fun, we’re going to do the movie night next,” she said. “In the meantime, I’ve decided that just because it’s cold outside, it doesn’t mean I have to stay home all the time. I’m going to the senior center tomorrow to play Bingo.”

If winter is a tough time of year for you, it’s important to prioritize things that lighten your mood and help you connect with the people you love.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 585-787-0009 or email us at We’ll be happy to assist!