Residents of Trillium Woods, a 46-acre senior living community in Plymouth, Minnesota might argue that they’ve got a secret weapon to combat the cold of a Minnesota winter: Director of Community Life Services, Laurie Kruper and her crusade against Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD.
According to the National Institute of Health, SAD is a type of depression related to changes in seasons and commonly affects people who live in northern areas where the sun is not as strong or constant. Effects can be compounded if a person primarily stays indoors and doesn’t have the opportunity to venture out into the sun often. “We work hard at Trillium Woods to prevent and alleviate SAD for our residents by offering activities throughout the winter that get them involved, engaged, outside the community, and laughing. We like to see them laughing,” said Laurie. In addition to the many and varied high-end amenities, the community boasts an activities calendar that keeps residents feeling sunny all winter long.
Braving the Cold to Get Happy
Resident Len Busch knew there was a way he could contribute to the SAD programming so he made arrangements with Laurie to offer a special outing to everyone on campus. Len just so happens to be the owner and founder of Len Busch Roses, a company that sells over 7 million stems and pots and boasts 15 acres of greenhouses. Residents were treated to a tour of the garden center and the stunning roses for which the company is named. To be able to connect with nature in the dead of winter, to smell the earth and flowers and be in the hot and humid environment of the greenhouses was uplifting for all.
The Minnesota Landscape Museum always does fun and unique things to expand the imaginations of its visitors, and the Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum art installation did just that. The Arboretum is a popular attraction with more than 1,200 acres of beautiful gardens and tree collections, prairie and woods and miles of trails that was borne out of the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center in the late 1950s. The Munro exhibit was an outdoor light show of sorts that could be enjoyed up close or from the warmth of a car. Twenty residents went on the tour and returned to Trillium Woods feeling inspired by the unique presentation.
Some residents used volunteering as an outlet to chase the winter blues away. Packing dry goods to feed children in third world countries with Feed My Starving Children or working with Interfaith Ministries to knit over 170 baby caps were just two ways residents found to give back to their community. Attending events like the annual intergenerational Valentine’s Day Party had residents connecting with loved ones and an Academy Awards Party and the events leading up to it, like The Academy Through the Ages, had them reminiscing and walking down memory lane.
A Talent Show That was Anything but SAD
The SAD programming culminated in a big way with a 12-act variety show. This two-hour event packed the auditorium with skits, singing, dancing, a lip sync battle, and more. From the moment the curtain closed, the residents have been planning and plotting what to do in next year’s show. “Everyone was able to just let go and have fun; there were so many hilarious moments and the laughing may have been the best part,” said Laurie. “We really wanted to get people together and have a good time and that mission was definitely accomplished.” The cold weather outside was all but forgotten not just during the show, but also in the rehearsals before, as well as the anticipation of how to make the 2018 Talent Show even better.
Residents are really enjoying the last warm weeks before fall starts because they know that Trillium Woods is well prepared for the winter that lies ahead. Laurie and her team, along with the Activities Committee, has developed a long list of activities and events designed to combat SAD and not just get residents through winter, but give them reasons to enjoy it. To learn more about programming and activities at Trillium Woods, call (763) 553-7600.