Winter Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Winter Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Preparing for winter weather can be a daunting task, especially for seniors living alone. Elderly persons are generally at a higher risk of airway infections and viruses due to an already lowered immune system, but the physical conditions of winter pose serious fall risks as well.

If you are a senior or caring for an aging loved one, below are some tips  and strategies on staying safe this winter season. 

  •  Prepare for Icy Conditionswinter weather tips for elderly

Falls and injuries from falls are the number one cause of death in seniors ages 65 and older. Common injuries from falls may include wrist and hip fractures, head trauma, open wounds and skin tears. A good rule of thumb to prevent slipping is to wear non-skid shoes if you must go out, but waiting until the ice is gone is an even safer bet.

  • Enrich Your Diet

Many people suffer from an insufficiency of Vitamin D during the winter, as they spend more time indoors. This deficiency can lead to depression, fatigue, hair loss, and muscle weakness, which in turn increases a risk of falls. Certain foods rich in Vitamin D may bolster your levels, preventing these health concerns, such as tuna and salmon, milk, oranges, and fortified grains and cereals.

  • Prepare Your Homewinter weather tips for seniors

Always take good stock of your medications if there is a risk of dangerous weather conditions in your area. Make sure you have food that can be prepared in case of power outages, such as canned soup or sandwich items. Keep a supply of warm blankets and flashlights, along with batteries. If you have wood stoves or fireplaces, ensure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have new batteries and are in working condition. Keep your cell phone fully charged and have a back up power bank in case of emergencies. 

Are you or a loved one looking for in-home elderly and senior services? My Choice Home Care is a senior care service that serves clients in Macon County, Jackson County, and Haywood County in North Carolina. Counties served in Georgia are Rabun County, Towns County, and Habersham County. The counties served in Upstate South Carolina are Oconee County, Pickens County, and Anderson County. Call (828) 200-9000 to speak to someone today or contact us if you or a loved one would like to enjoy the benefits of living independently in your own home. 


Talking To Your Loved Ones About Home Care by Amber Kevlin, RN. Published by Rabun Neighbors Magazine

Talking to your loved ones about needing extra help around the house can be a difficult conversation for families. Aging adults may recognize signs of cognitive or physical decline, but don’t want to be a burden for family members. In turn, children of aging adults may notice a need for more assistance, but are unsure of how to bring up the topic of home care. Here, I have provided some helpful hints that may make the talk a little bit easier.

Understand their point of view. An aging loved one may feel that they are losing their independence, but it’s important to point out that home care is also preventative care. A home care agency would assess your home and routines for safety concerns, helping to keep your loved one from falling, making medication errors, or memory related neglect.

Be confident in your approach. You will need to be assertive, but not aggressive. Practice starting the conversation with a friend. Anticipate questions, and try to have a ready response that is reassuring, not demeaning or “pushy.”

Think about how you word your intentions. Therapists recommend using “I” language instead of “you” language in difficulthow to talk to parents about home care conversations. For instance, “I feel that an extra set of hands/eyes could benefit us around the house,” rather than “You look like you could use some extra help.” Using this technique makes your loved one less defensive, and more receptive to your ideas.

It’s always helpful to have a medical professional to speak to your loved one. A medical professional can speak plainly but also answer any questions they may have, with reassurances that family may not be able to give. It’s understandable that a family experiencing this for the first time can be uneasy or unsure of how to approach talking to a loved one about extended care, but rest assured primary care physicians have dealt with this exact same situation many, many times over.

My Choice Home Care is a local, family-owned agency that can help. We offer services that include assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing, and incontinence care, as well as meal preparation, errand running/grocery shopping, pet care, and escorts to appointments. We service Macon, Jackson, and Haywood counties in North Carolina, Rabun and Towns counties in Georgia, and provide care in Oconee and Pickens counties in South Carolina. Please give us a call at (828) 200-9000 or contact us through our website here. You can also check out our blog post on Preventing Falls at Home. We would love to treat your family as our family.


Our article is published in RABUN Neighbors magazine

Preventing Falls at Home by Amber Kevlin, RN. Published by Rabun Neighbors Magazine

elderly home care assistance- prevent falls at homeAccording to the CDC, millions of people aged 65 and older fall every year, and falls are the number one cause of accidental deaths among elderly people. More than a quarter of seniors fall each year, yet only about half of them tell their doctors about it.

One in 5 falls result in serious injuries, such as bone fractures or brain bleeding. These statistics are scary, especially if you have an elderly family member that lives alone. Traumatic brain injury can hinder an individual’s ability to walk, do regular duties, and operate independently.

Even if they are not physically injured, many individuals who have had a fall, have a significant phobia of falling. Due to anxiety, a person may alter their typical routine, and in turn, inactively lowers muscular strength, which increases the chance of injury from falling. It’s a double-edged sword, and one that could negatively impact your elderly loved one’s life.

Fall Prevention Steps You Can Take

care taker for senior citizens to prevent falling at homeIf you are concerned about falling, or about a loved one falling, visit your primary care physician for a professional evaluation and to learn about preventative actions you can take. Also, please consult your doctor or pharmacist if you experience dizziness or fatigue to evaluate whether any of your medications may be an issue. Our team can also help you prepare your home with a home safety assessment to check for other safety hazards, such as:

  • Cords on floor
  • Area rugs
  • Steep stairs
  • Bed that is too high off the ground
  • A high bathtub instead of a low shower threshold
  • A lack of grab bars in your bathroom
  • Obstacles on the floor

at home caregiver to prevent falls at homeIf you suspect that an aging loved one is having difficulty with mobility, or is a fall risk, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider as soon as possible. Depending on your family members needs, My Choice Home Care can provide 24-hour care, day or night shift care, or hourly care for you or your loved ones.

Our team is prepared to conduct an at home consultation to work with you and your family to develop a care plan suited for each family member. Please reach out to Tricia at (828) 200-9000 or Amber at (828) 508-0322, contact us through our website here at MyChoiceHome.Care for more information.


Our article is published in RABUN Neighbors magazine

Helping Aging Family Members Eat Better by Amber Kevlin, RN. Published by Rabun Neighbors

Aging can present many challenges, and balancing a healthy diet is certainly one of the more prominent eating challenges. There are many issues that can contribute to this issue, such as a declining sense of taste, the body’s decreased breakdown of nutrient intake as we age, issues with teeth or dentures, as well as proper digestion, chewing and swallowing.

When eating becomes a difficult task or chore, it can be easy to skip a meal or to choose foods that are quick and accessible, which ultimately can result in unhealthy eating habits. Malnutrition is a serious issue for the elderly, and can lead to weakness, loss of muscle strength, and reduced mental capacity.

Some issues that may arise for elderly folks may include:

  • Certain medications that impair taste and smell, making food seem less appetizing.eating challenges for seniors
  • Certain conditions can affect the mouth or teeth, and can make swallowing and chewing more difficult.
  • Holding a knife or fork with arthritis can be painful, and can potentially lead to an over-reliance on finger foods and unhealthy snacks.
  • After losing a partner, the subsequent feelings of isolation and possible depression can cause some to forego making a solitary meal.
  • Elderly folks living on a fixed income may sometimes have to choose between quality meals or ingredients and other costs of living.

If your loved one seems to get overwhelmed by meal preparation, suggest smaller meals and healthy snacks in-between. If they are having difficulty remembering meal times, set alarms via apps or technology (such as an echo dot) as reminders to eat.

If they are showing a decrease in appetite and signs of weight loss, there are steps you can take to increase their caloric intake without adding too much bulk. You can introduce gravies, cheese, and sauces to prepared dishes. Using powdered milk in recipes adds calcium to their diet, and wheat germ in baked dishes can also help. Adding supplemental drinks such as Ensure can also benefit an underweight individual.

Encouraging the intake of liquids is also extremely important in an aging loved one’s diet. Dehydration is a gateway to many complications in the elderly, such as loss of stamina, headache, dry mouth, sugar cravings, dizziness, and may increase the risk of a urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can lead to falls, confusion, acute kidney injury and hospital admission.

If you suspect that an aging loved one is having eating challenges, schedule an appointment with their primary care provider as soon as possible. They can navigate a proper schedule with a nutritional expert, and help to get your loved one back on track with an appropriate dietary plan specific for their needs. Contact us through our website here MyChoiceHome.Care


Our article is published in RABUN Neighbors magazine

Identifying and Preventing Osteoarthritis by Amber Kevlin, RN. Published by Rabun Neighbors

In the human body, cartilage surrounds the end of each bone, protecting it from friction. When that cartilage breaks down, the condition is known as osteoarthritis. So how does one develop osteoarthritis, and how can you prevent it?
Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints that mostly occurs in people ages 65 and older, and affects approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. Half of all adults will experience osteoarthritis of the knee during their lifetime. The most common causes of osteoarthritis are obesity, advancing age, a past joint injury, overuse of joints, and genes.

Some signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:preventing falls at home

  • Pain in joints
  • Stiffness, especially after periods of inactivity
  • Swelling, notably after overuse and strain
  • Snapping or a cracking sound when joint is bent
  • Limited range of motion

Managing Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis will gradually present themselves over time, and the earlier the detection, the better chance you’ll have at easing any pain and discomfort, as well as preventing further damage. Though there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are ways to prevent further deterioration, and methods to manage discomfort, such as:

  • Weight management
  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medications – Acetaminophen and NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation
  • Cold therapy – An ice pack applied to an arthritic area that’s causing a burning sensation can help numb the area and diminish swelling
  • Stretching – Building up muscles that surround weakened joints can stall OA progression
  • Alternative therapy – Massages and hydrotherapy can help relieve pain and pressure caused by OA
  • Mobility aids – Knee walkers and canes can help you get around while still allowing you to be active
  • Corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections – Pain relief for intense aches that aren’t relieved by over the counter medicines or therapies
  • Surgery – Conservative surgery is usually offered to younger patients to prevent more radical treatments, such as arthroplasty, or cartilage replacement.

People that suffer from osteoarthritis experience 30 percent more falls than those that do not have osteoarthritis and are 20 percent more likely to be at risk of a fracture. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor sooner rather than later. Living with osteoarthritis doesn’t necessarily mean living in pain or giving up your active lifestyle. The key to prevention is early detection, and coming up with an effective plan with your physician.


Our article is published in RABUN Neighbors magazine