News & Blog

Winter Safety & Wellness For Older Adults

Winter is the season in which healthcare providers see increased illness and accidents in older adults. The professionals at Sarah Reed Senior Living have compiled advice and tips to help area seniors stay safe, healthy and happy this winter.

When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, malnutrition, infections, falls, and depression. The possibility of power outages also could put seniors at risk. Like most things in life, it is better to be prepared. Here are precautions everyone should take at this time of year:

Precautions to Take 

  • Stay indoors during cold & inclement weather:
    • Keep your prescriptions filled. Use a pharmacy that delivers.
    • A full freezer will stay colder than an empty one.  If an outage occurs only open the freezer if necessary to keep the cold in.
    • In the event that the electric has been out for a period of time check the temperature in your refrigerator. If it has been below 41°F for a period of time, discard the food.
    • To ensure your refrigerator temperatures are correct place a refrigerator thermometer on a back shelf in a corner.  Inexpensive thermometers can be purchased at dollar stores.
    • Keep indoor temperature at 65 degrees or warmer.
    • Have an emergency kit in your home including flashlights, batteries, blankets, canned or dried foods, a first aid kit, and emergency telephone numbers.


  • If you must go out remember the following:
    • Ask your doctor whether shoveling the snow is safe for you.
  • Cover Up!All parts of your body should be covered when you go out in the cold. If your skin turns red or dark or starts hurting, go inside right away.
    • Make sure steps and walkways are clear before you walk. Be especially careful if you see wet pavements that could be iced over.
    • Clear away snow and salt your walkways at home. Or hire someone to do it.
    • Wear boots with non-skid soles – this will prevent you from slipping.
    • If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip before it is worn smooth.
    • Consider an ice pick-like attachment that fits onto the end of the cane for additional traction.
    • If you drive have an emergency kit in your car including flashlight, batteries, blankets, non-perishable foods, tire repair kit, jumper cables, ice scraper, hat, and gloves.






Fall Prevention:

  • One in every three persons over 65 suffers a fall each year. Prevent falls by doing the following:
    • Talk to your doctor about a personalized fall prevention plan.
    • Keep cords away from areas where you walk.
    • Remove loose rugs or tack down them down. Only use rugs with nonskid backing.
    • Add lights in dimly lit areas and at the top and bottom of stairs.
    • Use nightlights in bedrooms, halls and bathrooms.
    • Clean up clutter – especially near staircases.
    • Put hand rails on both sides of any steps or stairs in or outside of your home.
    • Add “grab bars” near the toilet and bath tub, and no slip decals in the tub or shower.
    • Wear firm shoes that tie that are not slippery on the bottom.
    • Don’t walk around in loose slippers or socks.
    • Take extra care & time when cleaning or doing household tasks.
    • Use extension tools and grabbers.


Infection Control:

  • Protect yourself from Flu, infections, and viruses by doing the following:
    • Get a flu shot!
    • Sleep well – aim for at least 7 hours
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
    • Exercise or meditate
    • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.  These are portals of entry for germs.
    • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after coming in contact with these potential germ “hot spots”:
      • Menus
      • Railings
      • Cell phones
      • Money
      • Elevator buttons
      • ATM machine buttons
      • Credit/Debit card machine buttons
      • Vending machines
      • Gym equipment


Beat the Winter Blues:

  • Grey skies, short daylight hours and staying indoors can contribute to depression. Fight it by:
    • Getting out on sunny, good weather days.
    • Schedule family or friends to visit you during the winter if possible.
    • Watch funny shows/movies, or read humorous books. Laughter is good for you!
    • Play upbeat music.
    • When the sun is shining, sit by a window.
    • Exercise!
    • Pray or Meditate.
    • Engage in hobbies or projects you enjoy.
    • Organize old photos and reminisce.
    • Share family stories, and recipes with your children and grandchildren.
    • Ask a technology savvy grandchild help you access the internet.

Expansion Project Update

The footprint of the City of Erie is changing!  Over the course of just a few months the addition to Sarah Reed’s Skilled Nursing Facility has risen from the foundation. Pictured here is the view from the St. Vincent’s Parking garage at West 23rd & Myrtle Streets.  The roof has been erected, the entrance framed, windows have been installed, and siding (not pictured) has begun.

The expanded facility is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017.  The construction is estimated to be completed in January, and interior decorating and finish work will begin.  The expansion will feature private resident rooms, enhanced therapy, recreation, and dining areas.  An outdoor courtyard and patio are planned, as is additional parking.


September is National Rehab Month

Inpatient Rehabilitation Care for Older Adults

A short-term stay in a rehabilitation center after an injury or illness has become a favorable situation for older adults. This residential setting can be more convenient and less cumbersome than traveling to and from a rehabilitation center for appointments – especially if the injury is orthopedic in nature and traveling to appointments risks re-injury. Many hospitals, nursing homes, and senior living residences offer inpatient facilities. You might think that being away from home in an unfamiliar environment might be more stressful; however, that is not always the case. In fact, studies have shown that a more successful recovery is achieved when there is 24 hour supervision and treatment since you or your loved one can rest assured knowing someone is there to help at any point in time.

A doctor may recommend inpatient over outpatient rehabilitation for older adults. You may be wondering what types of injuries can be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation center. The majority of injuries needing rehabilitation are orthopedic, neurological, and/or cardiac.

Inpatient rehabilitation treatments might include treatment for the following list of conditions:

  • Facture or broken bone
  • Joint replacement
  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Brain injury
  • Aneurysms
  • Neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Bell’s Palsy, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Nerve impingement
  • Wound care
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Pneumonia
  • COPD

Though this is only a partial list, it demonstrates that a large number of treatments involve recovering lost mobility, rebuilding muscle function, developing needed strength for utilizing walkers and wheelchairs, improving communication skills, and providing the emotional support needed to cope with the trauma and resume daily activities.

The length of the stay can vary based on progress – it all depends on the severity of the condition and the patient’s participation in the process. Most centers have a staff that consists of a variety of therapists (physical, occupational, speech, respiratory, etc.) and health care workers to create a plan based on each person’s needs and condition. The goal of any inpatient rehabilitation facility is to get the patient comfortably functioning so they can get on with the business of living their life.

Discussing inpatient and outpatient options with you or your loved one’s doctor is a good place to start if you have injuries that have been diminishing your quality of life.  Additionally, the hospital Social Worker or Case Manager can help you find a rehab facility that is right for you.  Remember, you have a choice of where to go for rehab. It is always a good idea to research and visit facilities before a need arises.  You will then be able to make pre-arrangements for rehab after a planned procedure, or in the case of an accident or sudden illness, you would be able to tell the hospital where you would like to go upon discharge.


For information on the rehabilitation programs at Sarah Reed Senior Living

call 814-878-2600 or visit