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.

Selecting the Right Medical Alert System

products-lifefone-medical-alarm-system-bigWhen discussing the safety and security of your loved ones, deciding on the right company to monitor your aging senior is of the utmost importance. Here are the six things you ought to search when looking for a medical alert system.

1. Transparent Pricing – Verify that the home medical alert system company posts its pricing plainly on their website. This is an important factor as many companies only discuss pricing once an inquiry call is initiated. By putting the prices on the web for everyone to see it insures there are no hidden costs and everyone is paying the same thing.

2. No Contracts – The process of deciding on the right medical alert device is daunting enough without having to sign a long-term contract. Verify that the procedure is hassle free, from the first ring to ordering to canceling your alarm.

3. Endless Call and Talk Time – Nothing is more soothing than learning that in any given circumstance, there is somebody paying special attention to you. The ability to push your personal emergency response system at anytime without having to worry about going over your limit is priceless.

4. Positive Track Record – Seniors are frequently the focus of con artists; verify the organization you pick is part of a reputable business and holds a better business bureau rating. It is important to pick a company with a long track record for ease of mind.

5. All American – Be sure the medical alert system company you choose has its call center based in America and that they speak only clear plain English. Never bargain on quality or consistency when choosing this type of product for the ones you love.

6. Brilliant Customer Care – When you’re using your hard earned cash to provide a safety product for your loved ones, verify your medical alert provider treats you like family, like a part of their gang.

The Cycle Of Worry and Anxiety

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we’re worried about something, our mind becomes our enemy. We tend to create a long list of “What if’s? What if we mess up at work? What if my car breaks down? What if I have a fight with my spouse? What if, what if, what if……?

Our tendency is to dwell on the bad things that might happen instead of ridding ourselves of these worries. Many people naturally have a more negative bias in our brains which, when confronting our “what if” scenarios, can spiral into more anxiety and worry.

If you deal with anxiety and anxiety disorders on a daily basis, it can be a challenge to put an end to those thoughts before they turn into chronic stress. However, there are ways to train your brain to stop these thoughts. Peter Norton, a professor of psychology at the University of Houston says, “The more you look for something or expect something to be there, the more likely you are to find evidence of it, so sometimes people can mislead themselves (when they’re having an anxious thought)”.

Here are some tips for getting rid of an anxious thought before it takes complete hold:

1. Check your feelings.  Recognize and validate your feelings, then take a step back, a deep breath and consider your anxious thought. Instead of trusting your pattern of worry, reevaluate the issue based on actual past experiences & current knowledge. You may find your emotions shifting and realize that this isn’t a true concern. If you find that it really is worth the worry, at least you’ve taken the time to evaluate it.

2. Ponder it carefully.  Many people will think they should put their worry out of their mind. But Dr. Mickey Trockel, M.D., a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University says that but avoiding fearful thoughts actually makes anxiety worse. Rather, think it through carefully. “Challenge your own thoughts and diffuse them, rather than hide them underneath the rug,” he says.

3. Develop perspective. Ask yourself questions about the situation such as why you feel the situation is so bad or what you think the worst possible outcome might be. This allows you to step outside of your feelings to approach your thoughts in a logical way. Again, using past experiences and current knowledge will help you develop a more rational view of the situation.”

4. Meditate. When anxiety and worry start to creep into your mind, practice relaxation as a way to calm yourself. Set aside five minutes to push away the thoughts that are weighing you down. Focus on your breathing, something positive, a pretty scene, or a happy moment but don’t allow negative thoughts.

5. Confront your fear in small ways. Don’t expect that your most nagging fear is going to go away if you practice these techniques. Instead, start with the small worries, taking baby steps to overcome the habit of worry and anxiety. As you practice these techniques, you’ll be able to overcome the bigger obstacles of life.

Allowing your mind to control your emotions, creating anxiety and stress, can zap you of precious energy. Actively work on these techniques so you aren’t consumed by worry.

A Labor Day Timeline

Labor Day has been celebrated the first Monday in September for over a century. For many, imagesit marks the end of summer with parades and picnics but it was originally designed as a day to celebrate the hard work and contributions of the American worker.

In 1869 Uriah Stephens formed the Knights of Labor, a secret society in Philadelphia with the goal of organizing workers around the country. Their primary demand was for an eight-hour day; they also called for legislation to end child and convict labor, as well as a graduated income tax. Over the coming years many organizations went on strike to demand these and other worker’s rights.

Today, there are some elderly members of our society who experienced this time in history first-hand. We’d like to share a list of events in history that shape our country today and give us cause to celebrate Labor Day for its true meaning.

Jun 12, 1912 – Massachusetts adopted the first minimum wage law.

Sep 3, 1916 – The Adamson Act established an 8-hour workday for employees of interstate railroads, with overtime for working longer hours.

Mar 3, 1931 – The Davis-Bacon Act required that federal contractors pay their workers the wages and benefits prevailing in the local market and kept employers from importing cheaper workers from outside the region.

Mar 5, 1933 – Frances Perkins became the first woman in U.S. History to hold a cabinet post when she became Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. She was in favor of a comprehensive, pro-labor agenda including minimum wage laws, unemployment insurance, old-age pensions and abolition of child labor.

Jun 25, 1938 – The Fair Labor Standards Act set a 40-hour workweek with time-and-a-half for additional hours. It also established a national minimum wage and put severe restrictions on child labor.40 hour

Jun 10, 1963 – The Equal Pay Act prohibited discrimination in wages on the basis of sex. The result: women’s earnings climbed from 62% of men’s in 1970 to 80% in 2004.

In more recent history, many of us will remember some of these events:

Mar 18, 1970 – More than 200,000 Post Office workers walked off the job in the first national strike of public employees.

Jun 12, 1981 – Major League Baseball players went on strike. The strike wiped out nearly 40% of the season that year but was settled just in time to save the World Series from cancellation.

Aug 3, 1981 – The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. On August 5, following their refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order and banned them from federal service for life.

While you may not agree with the results of all of these historical events, it’s fascinating to consider what our forefathers did to create the working environment we experience in the 20th century.

If you have an aging loved one, spend a few hours reminiscing about their life experiences. You might be surprised at the stories they will tell.

 

Beware Of Elder-Scams

It’s heartbreaking to consider the individuals who prey on the frail and elderly, but it is an unfortunate fact of life. If you’re a caregiver for your aging parents, you need to be aware of the scams that are being perpetrated on the 55+ crowd. Be aware, that age, intelligence or even income are not factors as individuals from almost every age and income bracket can be deceived by these scam artists. In recent years and months, many people have received a call from companies stating that a relative has purchased a medical alert systems and all they need to do is call back to provide some information. This is a scam and seniors and their families should beware!  In addition, here are other “popular” scams:

  • Telemarketing scams. Whether it’s a phone call telling a senior citizen that his or her grandchild has been arrested and needs money for bail to being enticed into purchasing an item or service over the telephone, these appear to be the most pervasive. Advise your loved ones to never give out sensitive personal and financial information over the telephone. If they receive a call that a family member is in need of bail money, hang up and call that family member – no matter what time it is. Being asked to donate money to a charity over the telephone. If your loved one wants to donate to a local charity, they can do so via mail or by stopping in and most charities will not solicit over the telephone.
  • Insurance or health care scams. If your loved one is over the age of 65, that is information that is easy for a scam artists to find and exploit. In an insurance scam, a phone call is made in which the caller asks for personal financial information and this information is then used to steal their identity and open charge cards in their name. This could also include enticing your loved one to invest in a long-term care insurance or a life insurance policy over the phone “with no medical exam required.”
  • Cemetery and funeral scams. These include what appears to be a legitimate funeral home or cemetery operator placing a call and asking them to purchase a burial plot or casket sight unseen. These scams, unfortunately, most often happen to a senior who has just lost a spouse. The unscrupulous caller will prey on the grief and use guilt-inducing tactics to urge your loved one to pay for a cemetery plot and a casket as a way to “relieve the burden” from remaining family members.

Urge your aging loved ones to:

  • Not purchase items over the telephone
  • Not give into high pressure sales from door-to-door sales people
  • To never give any personal or financial information over the phone
  • To not open the door to strangers
  • If they are in doubt about anything, to hang up and call a family member

It is very easy to be taken in by these telephone scammers so it’s best to talk with your loved one and let them know it’s a possibility and to help keep them safe.

Read More:

Scams Affecting The Elderly

 

 

Walking Is Ideal For Physical And Mental Health

Getting up off of the couch and moving is a way to not only combat obesity, but it can help you as you age by keeping your physical and mental being in balance. Chances are, your doctor has stressed the importance of getting up and moving. You have likely heard the reports that people who sit for long periods of time are more likely to die at an earlier age than those who are more physically active.

Walking is an exercise that virtually anyone can undertake as a way to get and/or stay healthy. In addition to helping your cardiovascular system, walking may prevent cancer and diabetes and help strengthen your bones. Because falls are so prevalent in individuals over the age of 65, being active and in shape may help prevent a fall as you age.

Did you know, though, that walking can also help ward off dementia? Physicians believe that consistent cardio exercise – like walking or even swimming – can help prevent your brain from shrinking as you age. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that individuals who walked six to nine miles a week had more brain volume after nine years in the study than did those who were not as active. Consider that a walk a day can reverse age-related brain shrinkage and you can see the benefit in slipping on your sneakers and getting out there!

If you’ve been sedentary, here are some steps you will want to consider before you start a walking routine:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. They should fit well and have stable soles.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat when you walk to prevent sunburn.
  • Invest in a pedometer so you can track how long you’re walking and challenge yourself to walk a few more steps each day.
  • Don’t start a walking or other exercise routine until you’ve checked with your doctor. He may advise starting out slowly (getting a few thousand steps a day) and working your way up to the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

What’s the best way to start a walking workout?

  1. Plan to walk at the coolest parts of the day – early morning or at dusk.
  2. Walk in well-lit areas and stay on sidewalks and try to avoid uneven terrain
  3. Use walking sticks to not only improve balance but to work your upper body as well
  4. Start out with a five to ten minute walk – this is especially important if you’ve been inactive prior to this. Increase your walk time by five to ten minutes every time you go out
  5. Look for ways to incorporate walking into your every day routine – walk to the mailbox, park further away from the grocery store than usual and use those steps to add to your daily total, get up and move around during television commercials, walk up to get your daily cup of coffee.
  6. Change up your routine so you don’t get bored. Walk in a different direction. Walk indoors one day and outdoors the next. Find a walking buddy.
  7. Once you’ve been walking for a week or two increase the intensity by walking up some hills or even by doing “interval” training – walking at a faster pace for a minute (to the point of being almost breathless) then slow back to your usual pace.

Make today the day that you commit to being more active; it just may help you stave off dementia as well as helping improve your all around health.

Things To Do Before You Turn 60 (or even 50!)

As we move into our Golden Years, whether we are taking care of ourselves or if we have been thrust into the role of caregiver, there are just some things that we should do for ourselves.

 

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...

The Bucket List (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve heard of the movie The Bucket List, you’ll remember it’s about all of the things you should accomplish before you die. We believe there are things you can cross off your list that could just make you happier, healthier or wealthier.

 

Here are five things to consider before you turn 50, 60 or 70:

  1. Cultivate friends that are younger than you are. Sure, it’s nice to be with your peers, but if they “act old” you will act old as well. Making friends with individuals younger than yourself may keep you young and will also open you up to new experiences and ideas.
  2. Break a bad health habit. It is never too late to get healthier. If being healthier to you means losing weight, getting more active or stopping smoking, there is no time like the present. Any positive changes you make in your health – whether you’re 50, 60 or 70 – will pay long term benefits.
  3. Start saving money. Yes, a financial planner will tell you that you should have started saving for retirement when you were in your 20s, 30s or 40s, but there is no reason you can’t start today setting aside money to use once you’ve retired. Having a retirement plan will help you enjoy your Golden Years without the worry of how you will pay the bills or keep food on the table. Start now setting aside money in an account specifically ear marked for your Golden Years whether it’s for daily living expenses or to finance that romantic cruise you’ve always dreamed of.
  4. Forgive old hurts. In many families there is likely some long-simmering hurts or resentments; maybe you don’t even see your relatives because of them. Now is the time to forgive and forget. Nursing negative feelings can drain your energy. Reach out, take the first step and see what happens.
  5. Have a team in place to help you with your finances, your health (both physical and spiritual) and potential long-term care plans. For many individuals, finding a trusted physician could be something they’ve had in place for decades, but an attorney or CPA may not have been front of mind; now is the time to begin searching for someone to help with your finances and with getting your legal issues in order (think Power of Attorney or wills). Prior to your needing it, talk with your family about what you hope to have happen when you can no longer age in place. Will you move in with a family member or into an assisted living facility? If you’re going to become the caregiver for aging relatives, how will that look and fit into your current lifestyle? These are all conversations that should be had prior to it becoming an emergency situation.

Chances are there are more items that you can add to your list of what needs to be done before you’re 50, 60 or 70 and that could include how, or whether you will be, able to age in place as you age. There are myriad ways in which to make this happen and having medical alert device installed in your home is just one of the things you will want to consider.

 

 

 

Making Sure Your Money Doesn’t Run Out In Retirement

Going into retirement and having enough money to not only live comfortably but to be able to do the things you’d always dreamed of while you were working is a delicate balancing act. While you’re still employed, you want to be able to enjoy activities and make the purchases you want, but you still need to set enough aside to prepare for your Golden Years.

There is a way to attain a balance so that you can enjoy your working years while still saving enough for your retirement. Here are some of our tips:

  • You need to have a plan. You wouldn’t
    retirement

    Retirement Planning (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

    take a road trip without a map, right? If you have to stop and ask for directions at every turn, you won’t know if you’re being steered in the wrong direction until it’s too late. Just as you need a roadmap for a trip, you need a plan for saving and investing (while still being able to spend now) before you take the leap into retirement. Talk to you accountant or financial advisor about your plans for retirement and ask what you can do now to realize those plans.

  • When you are investing in retirement you should be planning to preserve your principal. Many retirees want an income that will sustain them for their lifetime and your investments should take that into account. Being conservative in your investments is likely the best way to go as you near retirement age. The time to take risks is when you’re just starting out.
  • Whether you’ve operated with a budget prior to retirement, you should certainly have a budget or some sort of spending plan in place when you do retire. Seeing the amount of money you have in savings or in investments may lead you to frivolous spending now. Work out a budget that calculates any taxes you may have to pay, monthly fixed expenses, medical expenses and/or insurance payments. Once you’ve determined those numbers you can begin planning your budget for “fun” and relaxation in retirement.
  • Have a backup plan. Regardless of how well you plan, there may still be items that blindside you and force you to rethink your original plans. Health issues, not receiving as much from investments or having higher than planned for expenses can all throw a curveball into your retirement savings. Having a reserve or an emergency fund may help with this – the reserve is something you hope you won’t have to access, but it provides peace of mind in case you do. A reserve fund could be a piece of property, a home that is paid for or even a collectible that could be sold if necessary, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a cash reserve.
  • Have a talk with family members about your plans and even your financial situation so they are aware of your hopes and dreams. Protect yourself from falling for some of the get rich quick schemes that are perpetrated on the elderly. You need to have someone on your side that you can trust to help you with your money and investments if the need arises.

Planning for retirement involves not only your cash and finances, but where you will live out your Golden Years as well. Will you age in place or will you be moving into a retirement community? These are all plans that should be discussed with an accountant and your family prior to your retiring.

 

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Essential Elements of a Medical Alert System

Author: John Clinton

John ClintonWhat are the components of a quality medical alert device?

Do you know what to look for?

Choosing the best medical alert system is a necessity. At some point, every senior who wants to continue living in their own home well into their golden years without having to worry about the risk of a medical emergency needs to have one.

The problem is finding the best system for you.

I want to share with you my experience in the world of medical alert systems and help you determine what to look for. Here are some essential elements that you should look for.

Company Background and Customer Service

The first thing you want to consider is company history. Alert systems aren’t always about the equipment or the technology involved.

Beyond the alert device you receive, an alert company provides a vital service. They are the people who guarantee that your equipment will function properly and the people that will pick up when you press the “help” button on your alert base station or monitoring device.

You want a company with 24/7 operations, well trained operators that you know you will be able to understand — don’t consider a company that outsources its operations to another country.

Personally, I recommend companies that own their own call centers. That way, you know right up front that they do their own training and that the company you are doing business with is responsible for the center that will answer your call. Many companies outsource their operations to other US-based call centers.

Do your research. Choose a reliable company with a history in the industry that owns their own call centers.

Technology

Technology is the part of the puzzle that most people focus on. Beyond determining if the company is credible and the call centers are company-owned, you’ll want to make sure that you are receiving the latest, most reliable, and trusted medical alert device.

Devices come in a variety of styles. Base station models with included pendants or wristbands that allow for remote operation are the most popular.

One of the most important decisions on base station and pendant technology is range. You’ll want a device that will accommodate for the size of your home and maybe your yard. Most systems are effective in the 400-500 foot range — meaning that the remote pendant will work 500 feet from the base station unit.

The best devices offer a range of over 1000 feet. The best I’ve seen on the market is 1500 feet.

Do You Need a Cellular Base Station?

Many people are doing away with landline telephones.

Some emergency alert providers can’t provide service without a landline.

If you want to install an emergency alert base station in a room or home without a landline telephone, you need to check to see if the company you choose offers cellular technology.

Search for providers that have 3G cellular base stations. These devices will provide connectivity as long as you can get cell phone reception at your home. Most cellular stations rely on the AT&T mobile network.

Additional Emergency Features

Some medical alert systems can provide more than emergency medical coverage.

Look for systems that allow easy integration with fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detection systems. A few companies provide add-on features that combine these alert systems with a medical alert base station.lf-complete-package-web

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and a constant threat that many people forget about. Having a medical alert system that doubles as fire or carbon monoxide detection can increase response time in the event of an emergency situation. I would bet that your current fire alarm does not automatically call the fire department for you!

Do Your Research

The most important thing to remember is to research your options completely.

Think about the company you want to do business with. These are the people you will rely on in an emergency.

Here are some questions to ask while researching:

Does the company you’re considering have a long history in the emergency alert business? Do they provide the technology you need? Are they accredited by the Better Business Bureau?

It’s worth the time to investigate your options completely. This could be a life-saving decision.

About John

John Clinton is the co-founder of medicalalertsystemsratings.com, a review and resources site specializing in medical alert systems.

 

 

 

The Buddy System: Still a good idea

Friendship

Friendship (Photo credit: Nono Fara)

You remember your mom and dad giving you quick snippets of advice:  drink your milk, eat your vegetables, don’t smoke, go to bed early.  Odds are they also reminded you to keep a buddy with you if you were leaving the movies or a party or you may remember saying “I’m going to hang out with my buddies”.  It’s a word that reminds you of some good memories.  A buddy; your friend, your confident, someone you trust. 

A recent study conducted in Australia found that people with a large network of friends were 22% less likely to die prematurely. And more studies show that buddies, friends, pals have a positive impact on stress levels and brain health.  It’s even been shown that people with more friends have fewer colds!

When we’re young, we have the playground, the classroom, birthday parties and church events where the opportunity to make friends surrounds us. But as we age, making friends isn’t as easy as it once was but it’s every bit as important.  It isn’t that we’re socially inept but rather, we have fewer social opportunities to meet and befriend others.  If you or a loved one are homebound, the opportunity diminishes even more.

So how do you make friends once you get a bit older?  The key is to find what you like to do and then go out and do it. If you’re a photographer, join a photography group. Are you a reader?  How about joining a book club?  A gardener?  Well you know what to do…join a gardening or seed sharing group.  Finding like-minded people in groups that interest you is a sure way to grow your friendship web.

Meanwhile, as you’re developing new friendships and cultivating your interests, be sure to remember those around you that are always there, day in and day out.  Sometimes your existing relationships fall prey to loss of attention so nurture what you have while investigating new buddy systems!

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