LifeFone Offers Check-in Services

Caregiving is among one of the most important jobs a person takes on during his or her life. It’s a task that takes time and patience and one that most of us are never prepared for. Being a family caregiver takes a lot of time, effort and work. For many, it’s a role that comes on suddenly, without warning or simply evolves.

pIn addition to LifeFone’s Medical Alert Systems with or without a landline, with GPS and with Fall Detection, LifeFone also offers check-in services to help provide peace of mind for care recipients and their families.

LifeFone Activity Assurance

LifeFone’s Activity Assurance Service enables subscribers to check-in with an emergency care agent in the call center each day.   By pressing a button on their base unit, it lets LifeFone know whether or not they are at home and responding to the reminder. This service is available with the at home landline service only.

Each day at a set time chosen by the subscriber, the base unit generates a beeping tone.   The subscriber can stop the beeping tone simply by pressing a button on the console, assuring LifeFone (and the subscriber’s loved ones) that the subscriber is at home and responding. If the subscriber does not respond to the reminder within 15 minutes, an alarm is sent to the alarm center and received by a customer care agent who will then place an outbound call to the home to check on the subscriber. If the subscriber does not answer the phone, we then follow his or her emergency care instructions.

LifeFone Daily Check-in Call

With the daily reminder service, LifeFone care agents will make a daily outbound call to the subscriber. The subscriber customizes the calls to fit your needs.   LifeFone can call simply to find out if the subscriber is ok, provide him or her with a medication reminder, or any type of reminder desired. Each day, the subscriber will hear the warm, friendly voice of a customer care agent who knows him or her by name and is concerned with that subscriber’s well-being.

LifeFone’s check-in services can be a valuable addition to a medical alert system. For more information call LifeFone at 800-228-2280.

‘Convincing’ Your Loved One To Use A Medical Alarm Device

Aging in place is one of the last bastions of independence for many seniors. If your aging loved ones have been determined to hold onto their independence in this way, you know that equipping them with a personal emergency response system can help them achieve this goal. Investing in a personal medical alarm device should be brought up to your loved ones in such a way as to let them know that using one of these devices isn’t taking away any independence, but is actually assisting them with their desire to age in place.

Many individuals will say they don’t want to wear a personal medical device because they believe it will mean they are “unfit” or “not healthy enough” to live alone. If you share with them that these devices are worn as a preventative measure in the event they suffer a medical emergency or a trip or fall (which is a very real and startling statistic for individuals aged 65 and older) they may see the benefit of wearing one.

How can you appeal to the emotional side of this conversation? Here are some tips:

  1. “It’s a fact of life, Mom and Dad, that people over the age of 65 are more likely to experience a trip or fall” as a way to let them know that if they have a personal medical alarm device, a simple push of the button will provide access to medical care and treatment and therefore they have a better chance at recovery.
  2. “We worry about you.” This statement could be especially true if your parent is widowed and lives alone. Even if both parents are still living, each of them can have a personal medical device and this will provide peace of mind for the family.
  3. “It’s for peace of mind.” If you let your aging loved ones know it’s as much for your peace of mind as it is for their health they may agree to the device as a way to not only allow them to remain independent in their own home, but as a way to provide you peace of mind. It’s a win-win.

If your loved ones are more logical than emotional, here are some logical arguments you can share with them for the importance of having a personal medical device in their home (and on their person):

  1. One out of three individuals aged 65 and older will fall in the home. The longer they lie there without receiving medical care, the more serious the medical complications could become. Being able to press a button to gain access to medical assistance could mean the difference between a positive outcome or a negative one from a fall.
  2. A personal medical device will allow you to age in place. These devices offer you the ability to remain independent while providing access to medical care if needed. In the event of a trip or fall or another medical emergency, you may not be able to reach a phone and with one of these devices, you won’t have to.
  3. If your parents do not want to move into an assisted living facility, you should stress to them that one of these devices may mean they won’t have to. A personal medical device can delay that move for years, or perhaps for the duration of their lives.

If you can explain the viability of a personal medical device and equate it to an insurance policy – it’s something you pay for and hope you never need to use, but you are grateful it’s there if the time arises that you need it – your loved ones may see the benefit.

Teens Taking On The Role Of Caregiver

At a time when teens should be active in extra curricular activities, hanging out with friends and working at part time jobs, more and more kids are taking on the task of caregiving.

According to Dr. Julia Belkowitz, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, more than 1.3 million preteens and adolescents spend their free time caring for a family member with a physical or mental illness, or misuse substances.  The daily tasks include helping family members with eating, dressing, toileting, getting around, bathing and other common daily activities.

Dr. Belkowitz and her colleagues worked with the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) in Palm Beach County, FL to gain an understanding of the experiences of these youth who were an average of 12 years old; 62% were girls & 38% boys. In addition to daily care, the caregivers also indicated that in some cases, they cleaned the house, shopped for groceries, administered medications, provided companionship and emotional support and other tasks that are beyond their experience and training.

While caregiving can be difficult for many adults, these teens are facing challenges and situations that shouldn’t normally be on their radar.  AACY is helping to raise awareness about the issue of youth caregivers and working to develop partnerships to better understand issues and provide the resources and support to this growing population of caregivers.

 

How We Age

Ursula Staudinger, a lifespan psychologist who directs the Columbia Aging Center said, “How old we feel imprints itself on how we act and experience old age. You either want to get into your own old age or you don’t, and it plays out dramatically.”

She continues to explain that instead of obsessing about your own chronological age — a measure that varies widely among individuals — “think about the historical year you were born,” she suggested, “and immediately your associations will change.”

This ability to view your lifespan as a chunk of history does more than help you get over yourself. It draws your attention to what is happening in the world as a result of our longer lives. The age boom, Staudinger pointed out, is unfolding in tandem with what she calls a “fertility revolution.” It means that as we grow older, there are fewer babies being born in our wake.

“It is the combination of longevity and fertility we need to take into account,” she said. “By the year 2070, population growth will come to a halt. We will be shrinking.”

Learn more about Dr. Staudinger and the work of the Columbia Aging Center at http://aging.columbia.edu/.

 

 

 

 

Preparing To Live To Be 100

The longer you live the more money you will have to spend, or conversely, the more money you should start saving now to prepare for living into your 100s. Modern medicine and the fact that many diseases and illnesses are able to be caught and even corrected early means that many of us are living longer, and in many cases, healthier lives.

If you’re hoping to live to be 100, how will you make certain you can afford it? The time is now to look at your finances and prepare for a secure financial life in your Golden Years. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t outlive your money:

  • Take stock of your spending. Scrutinize your spending for the next 30 days. Track where you’re spending and where you might be able to cut back and put that money into a savings account. It may be easier, and paint a more accurate picture, if you analyze three months’ worth of spending and take an average.
  • Talk with your CPA to get a snapshot of the amount of money you may need into retirement. Many individuals believe they will spend less money once they’re retired because they won’t have the expenses for food or commuting and other out of pocket expenses; what they don’t plan for is the money spent on hobbies or travel or leisure, now that you have leisure time. You may also see an increase in your family food budget because you’ll be eating more meals at home than in the past.
  • Save as much money, as often as you can. Check on your investments and, depending on your age, invest either more robustly or conservatively. Your financial adviser is your best point of contact for your investment planning.
  • Take a look at your lifestyle. Are there items you will want to do once you retire that you don’t now? How much will they cost? Are there activities you do now that you won’t once you retire? How much do they cost? If you plan to travel or take up a new hobby you will want to calculate those costs so you can budget for them. You don’t want to look at retirement as “sitting around the house with nothing to do” time you want to enjoy your Golden Years and pursue hobbies and activities you perhaps didn’t have time for while you were working and raising a family.
  • Will you be able to afford to live in your own home? Will you need to downsize or even make arrangements to live in a retirement community? What will that cost? Will it make sense for you to invest in long-term care insurance? Talk with a trusted advisor before you make any decisions on this purchase.
  • Get your paperwork in order. Don’t wait until you need a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy or a will – by the time you need it, it will be too late. Talk with your attorney and your family and get these papers drawn up early so they are in place in the event of a health emergency when you can’t speak for yourself. While it may be a bit morbid, you may want to put your funeral arrangements in writing and even get them planned so that your family won’t have to wonder at what your wishes would have been.
  • Pay off as much of your debt as possible. It’s best to not have to worry about credit card debt or loans with high interest rates, especially when retirement is drawing near and when your income will likely be lower than it was when you were working.

Taking steps to prepare for living to be 100-years-old is best done when you’re younger and in good health!

Caregiving, Dental Care & The Mentally Disabled

This article by Janice Neumann really brings to light how critical good dental care is yet how difficult this simple task is for caregivers who assist those with mental disabilities. Please enjoy the read.

Caregiver training may help mentally disabled adults with dental care

(Reuters Health) – Helping adults with developmental disabilities brush and floss their teeth is often hard for paid and unpaid caregivers, but family members could be in extra need of training, a new study suggests.

Researchers found poor brushing and flossing habits and high rates of dental disease in a survey of disabled adults, and many caretakers lacked confidence in their ability to help their charges with daily dental care.http://caregiversconnections.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Read more

 

The Beatitudes and a Prayer for Caregivers from the Catholic Herald

Beatitudes for Caregivers

Blessed are those who sleep poorly because they’re worried about their loved one or because their loved one wakes in the middle of the night and needs help, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn because their loved one, though still alive, is slipping away because of dementia, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek who force themselves to speak up and speak out to make sure their loved one receives the help he or she needs, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for answers to why this is happening to their loved one and how much longer it will go on, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are those who show mercy, kindness and compassion to their loved one, for they will be shown mercy, kindness and compassion.

Blessed are those who keep clean a loved one who is physically or mentally unable to keep himself or herself clean, for they will see God.

Blessed are those who help their loved one find moments of peace, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are misunderstood, not appreciated and taken for granted in their role as caregiver, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you whose caregiving efforts are unjustly criticized — or who are falsely accused of not caring about others — because of your love for your care-receiver and your love for God, who has asked you to help his beloved son or daughter.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

A Caregiver’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me better understand and believe I can do what you ask me to do.

Forgive me for the times, even now, when I question your judgment.

As I go about the many daily tasks of caregiving, give me energy.

As I watch my loved one oh-so-slowly walk across the room, give me strength.

As I answer his/her repeated question just one more time, give me patience.

As I look for solutions to whatever is the most recent concern, give me wisdom.

As I reminisce with him/her about the “good old days,” give me a moment of laughter.

As I get to know my loved one in a new way, seeing both his or her strength and frailty, give me joy.

As I sit beside my loved one’s bed waiting for his or her pain medication to take effect, give me comfort.

Lighten my burden, answer my prayer, and give me the strength to do what so often seems impossible. Give me a quiet place to rest when I need it and a quieting of my anxieties when I’m there.

Change my attitude from a tired, frustrated and angry caregiver to the loving and compassionate one I want to be.

Remain my constant companion as I face the challenges of caregiving, and when my job is through and it’s time for me to let go, help me remember that he or she is leaving my loving arms to enter your eternal embrace. Amen.

From Catholic Herald.

 

Robot’s As Companions

thEarlier this year, a Collaborative Robots Workshop was held in Boston. At this event, there was a demonstration on how humans could work with robots and discussed ways to help people get more comfortable with robots and robotic technology.

Robotics engineers discussed the subject of “human acceptance” of robots as an integral part of their lives. A robot referred to as a “home assistance robot” was displayed during the workshop as one that could potentially provide both emotional support and assistance with simple household tasks. The robots could also be a companion for an elderly individual who is living alone and lacks the ability to interact with friends or family.

Senior adults who participated at the workshop indicated they’d be hesitant to use the devices and younger individuals considered whether they may find themselves becoming too dependent on it and close themselves off from friends and family. Individuals who design robots need to consider what kind of controls would need to be added into a robot that could help an adult monitor its use by a child to make certain the child doesn’t begin to isolate himself. Just as people can become dependent upon or attached to a computer, video game, social media or smartphones, the concern arose as to whether people could become dependent upon robots.

Companion robots may never be found in homes across the country but researchers are looking for ways to provide individuals with company to prevent them from being isolated as they age.

While they sound pretty cool, if you could provide a robot to one of your loved ones, do you think you would?

Fall Prevention Awareness Day

FallsFree-200wToday is Fall Prevention Awareness Day. It is estimated that in the United States one third of seniors over the age of 65 and one half of seniors over the age of 80 will fall each year, resulting in medical costs exceeding $27 billion annually. Most falls are preventable so it’s important that caregivers and family members work with the elderly in their lives to ensure their home and surroundings are as save as possible. In an article called Seven Ways to Prevent Falls In the Home, we provided steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fall.

With autumn approaching at a fast pace, examine your home and those of the elderly to identify hazards. Consider risk factors such as poor eyesight, prior injuries that may cause walking problems, physical activity levels and other hazards.  As Baby Boomers age, the impact of a fall creates greater financial and emotional burdens. Education, examination and awareness is key to helping reduce the impact of falls and related injuries.

Download this Home Safety Checklist to help you identify fall hazards and accessibility issues.  Take the time today, or this week, to ensure your loved one’s safety!

So you want to be a Centenarian!

Living to be 100-years-old or even more is a possibility in today’s era of medical advances. If you’re hoping to live to be that age, you want to make certain you are healthy and happy enough to enjoy it. Also, if you’re a caregiver, you want to help your parents, or other 100relatives, enjoy their Golden Years in comfort and as good a health as possible.

How can you do that and how can you make aging in place well into your 100s a possibility? Here are some tips for living better as you live longer because it isn’t all in your genes (lifestyle plays a major role):

 

Eat well

  • Stay active and have a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce your stress
  • Be involved in loving relationships (yes, healthy relationships can enhance your life)

There are certainly genetic factors that could lead to health issues but there are many steps anyone can take to live a healthier life. Also, as you’re looking at living to be 100, you want to make certain that your mind is as healthy as your body and toward that end, it’s crucial that you keep it active, alert and always learning. A healthy lifestyle will also lead to a healthy, vital mind.

What happens if you haven’t always been as active as you’ve wanted to be or as you should be? There is no reason you can’t start now, even if you have to take baby steps to get active and start eating more healthful meals. If you’re a caregiver, find ways to keep your aging loved ones active and involved by helping them get out of the house and get involved in activities, taking walks or even tending a small backyard garden.

If your relatives are healthy enough to live alone, but if you worry about them being alone in the home in case a medical emergency arises, you can talk to them about installing a home medical alert system. These devices are ideal for offering peace of mind to both the user and his or her family and assures that if a medical need arises, help is a mere push of a button away.