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Winter blues? Charlestown has the solution

Staying active, social, and in shape is easy when you don’t have to worry about the weather

Created date

January 4th, 2018
Charlestown's all-season indoor swimming pool is just one of the community's on-site opportunities to exercise all year round. Snowing outside? Enjoy the view as you swim laps or participate in a water aerobics class.

Charlestown's all-season indoor swimming pool is just one of the community's on-site opportunities to exercise all year round. Snowing outside? Enjoy the view as you swim laps or participate in a water aerobics class.


Does your social life suffer through the winter? Has your waistline increased as the temperatures have gone down? Is your sunny disposition clouded from the lack of daylight? 

Rest assured, you’re not alone. An estimated 10 million Americans suffer depressive symptoms brought on by the winter months. In fact, scientists have come up with a clinical name to describe the most severe form of seasonal depression: seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short. 

Although the exact cause of the condition continues to be debated, studies suggest the seasonal slump experienced by so many may be linked to the change in exposure to daylight, which helps regulate our mood, sleep patterns, and even hormones. 

According to SAD expert Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a Maryland-based psychiatrist and author of the book Winter Blues, aside from daily artificial light therapy, managing stress, exercising, having a positive attitude, keeping up with your favorite pastimes, and spending time with friends and family can all help ward off the wintertime blues.  

Inside story

For some, following Rosenthal’s suggestions is a way of life. For example, retirees living at Charlestown—a Catonsville, Md., community managed by Erickson Living—enjoy the ability to stay active and engaged regardless of the weather thanks to an ingenious “everything under one roof” design.

“All of our apartment homes are within walking distance of what we call ‘Main Street,’” says Molly Fricker, sales counselor at Charlestown. “There you’ll find all of the conveniences of a small town. You can do your banking, shopping, get a haircut, take a college class, meet friends for a drink or a bite to eat, grab a book from the library—everything you would normally do without hopping in and out of your car or worrying about the winter weather,” she says.

There are many aspects of the Erickson Living lifestyle that help combat the winter blues, but two in particular stand out. 

The first is the ability to stay active and socially engaged regardless of the weather. 

The second is the ability to exercise year-round. Whether walking laps indoors through the community, exercising in the fitness center or attending an on-site aerobics class, or swimming in the indoor pool, there are plenty of options to keep fit. 

Weather the weather together

Throughout the winter season, nearly 300 resident-run groups at Charlestown continue to plan events and meetings regardless of the weather.  

“When the weatherman calls for snow, I can’t wait to come to work because I know it will be business as usual at Charlestown,” says Fricker. “People will go about their normal routines—whether it’s attending a college course being taught in one of the on-site classrooms, a book club meeting taking place fireside in one of our lounges, or folks swimming in the pool as the snow piles up outside.”

Rosemary Erdman, an avid walker, moved to Charlestown in 2005 and says the community allows her to remain more active and socially engaged than she ever could have had she stayed in her house. 

“Here, the weather doesn’t affect me at all,” says Rosemary. “I walk outside every day unless it’s extremely rainy or windy, and then I walk inside. I never get cabin fever because there are so many things here to do.” 

Part of what allows Charlestown community members the freedom to stay busy is the maintenance-free lifestyle they enjoy. All apartment home maintenance and repairs are included in the monthly service package so residents have no unexpected costs throughout the year.

From snow removal to checking heating units to appliance repair or replacement, the highly skilled maintenance staff at Charlestown responds quickly seven days a week. As a result, rather than spending hours shoveling heavy snow, community members spend their time with friends, traveling, or relaxing doing whatever they love most.

“It’s wonderful being here during a snowstorm,” says Rosemary. “I love looking out my window as the snow is falling and watching Charlestown employees outside cleaning the roads and sidewalks. And you don’t have to panic and run out for groceries; instead you just walk down to one of the restaurants and meet friends for dinner. It’s wonderful!”