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Winter blues? Oak Crest has the solution.

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

Created date

February 19th, 2018
As residents of Oak Crest, Jim and Carol White never let the weather slow them down.

As residents of Oak Crest, Jim and Carol White never let the weather slow them down.


Does your social life suffer through the winter? Has your waistline increased as the temperatures have gone down? Is your sunny disposition clouded by 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, 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 Oak Crest, a Parkville, 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 the apartment homes at Oak Crest are within walking distance of a clubhouse. 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.

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, 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 200 resident-run groups at Oak Crest continue to plan events and meetings regardless of the weather.  

Just ask Jim and Carol White. They sold their Towson condominium in early 2017 and moved to Oak Crest. 

“Although we lived in a condo, they often wouldn’t get the parking lots clear until the afternoon, so if we needed to go somewhere in the morning we would have to shovel ourselves out,” says Jim. “Now everything we want and need is right here within walking distance of our apartment. We go to concerts, movies, play cards and billiards, and we have five restaurants to choose from.”

Marjorie Hannahs says the community allows her to remain more active and socially engaged than she ever could have had she stayed in her house. 

“I love it here. There are no worries,” says Marjorie, who moved to Oak Crest in 2015 from Bel Air. “I can sit at the window and watch the snow and not have to shovel. I can walk anywhere I want without going outside. Everything is right here—a deli, bank, and beauty shop, and a medical center. There are so many activities to get involved in, it’s hard to pick and choose what you want to do.” 

Part of what allows Oak Crest 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 Oak Crest 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.

“When I lived in my house I shoveled snow. It was back-breaking work,” says Marjorie. “I used to hate to see the snow come down because I knew we would have to shovel out the car and clear off the deck. I don’t miss that at all. Now I sit here and watch them plowing the snow; it’s wonderful.”