Category Archives: medical alerts

Tips For Effective Money Management For Seniors

Effectively managing your finances following retirement and into your Golden Years brings with it challenges that need to be addressed so that you can continue to live the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed. One way to do this is to begin planning for retirement early in your working life and to work within the confines of a budget once you retire. Living within your means allows you to enjoy the perks you had when you were employed while still keeping a comfortable nest egg. Maintaining long-term financial stability requires thoughtful planning and may involve making changes to your daily lifestyle. Remember, financial planning for your retirement and senior years is more about long term goals than short-term.

Here are some money management tips to put into place prior to retirement. If you’re already retired, these are tips that can be implemented even now to help you enhance your financial stability:

  • Clear up your long term debt. Pay off your mortgage and pay down your credit cards. Revolving debt can wreak havoc on your savings. Having to worry about making monthly debt payments can negatively impact your long term financial stability. Additionally, knowing that your debts are paid off, or paid down, will add to your peace of mind.
  • Writing and sticking to a budget. To remain financially viable into your retirement you will need to live within a budget. Take time and make certain you include all of your expenses when making your budget. Include items such as health insurance, auto insurance and long-term care payments in addition to the income you’re bringing in.
  • Take care of your health. Illness can negatively impact not only your overall health but your ability to remain within your budget. Eating healthy meals, remaining active and having regular medical check-ups will go a long way in helping you enjoy your retirement years.
  • Stay involved. Volunteer, take a class at a local community college, visit neighbors and friends. Remaining involved with friends and continued learning leads to better mental acuity and could even ward off health related mental deterioration.
  • Do you need to downsize? If you’re still living in the home in which you raised your children, it may be time to consider downsizing to a smaller, more efficient home. Whether you move into a small home or an assisted living or retirement facility, taking the time to address trip and fall hazards and upgrading the bathroom and other rooms in the house to be senior friendly make the home safer as you age. Individuals that may be living alone or dealing with balance issues or other health concerns may want to consider equipping the home with a medical alert device as a way to have immediate access to health care in the event of an emergency.

Prior planning will help you enjoy your retirement years with grace and ease.

retirement

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Health Tips For Preventing Falls In The Elderly

Because falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the elderly, it is crucial that steps are taken to prevent both falls and the health issues that could lead to a fall. It’s also estimated that close to three million people, aged 65 and older, are treated in the emergency room for falls annually.

Death rates from falls in the elderly rose more than 55% between 1993 and 2003 and that could be because people are living longer, living alone, and are more frail, all factors which increase the likelihood of falls. One of the main reasons cited for admission into nursing homes or assisted living facilities is because of a fall.

As a caregiver, it’s crucial that you remain cognizant of the most common reasons the elderly suffer a fall, they are:

  • Medications that can cause disorientation, sleepiness or sleeplessness and dizziness
  • Visual impairment caused  by cataracts or glaucoma
  • Cognitive impairments caused by either Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Balance issues which could be caused by mobility issues, loss of muscle strength or diminished      flexibility
  • Blood sugar or blood pressure issues that could lead to dizziness upon standing

If your relatives are determined to remain independent and age in place, there are steps they can take, and you can help them with, to make that a possibility. Here are some steps you can take to help them avoid a fall and help maintain a stronger body:

  • Eating a balanced diet and drinking milk or getting calcium or Vitamin D from the foods they eat will help keep their bones strong.
  • Bone-strength building exercises such as walking, dancing, aerobic exercise or resistance training helps build both bone and muscle strength. You should check with their physician first to see if they are healthy enough to undertake an exercise routine. Even if your elderly relatives use a walker or a cane they can still become more active simply by getting up and moving every hour.
  • Balance can be improved by practicing yoga and daily stretches
  • Annual hearing and vision exams will detect any issues before they cause a trip or fall accident.
  • Ask the pharmacist whether any of the medications they take can cause any dizziness issues, especially when used in combination with each other.
  • Avoid using alcohol as it can interact with medications and add to drowsiness or dizziness

As part of your elderly relatives aging in place, make certain the home has been age-proofed to prevent trips or falls. Here are some measures to take:

  • Make certain hallways and closets are well lit. Install motion sensor lights with timers that will turn on and off upon entering or leaving a room.
  • Keep all walkways clear of clutter and power cords
  • All rugs should be secured to the floor with non-slip tape
  • A lamp should be next to the bed where it can be easily reached during the night. A touch lamp is a great option and prevents having to fumble around in the dark to find the switch.
  • All stairways should be in good repair and should have non skid treads on them.
  • Handrails should be installed on all stairways and even next to the toilet.
  • Grab bars should be installed in the shower and bathtub.
  • The bathroom should also have non skid rubber floor mats to prevent stepping onto a wet floor.
  • Put items that you use regularly within easy reach. Waist height is ideal placement for items in the kitchen and bathroom.

Helping your elderly relatives age-in-place if a gift for all family members. You can also help your relatives remain independent by offering them a home medical alert device. These devices can be a literal lifesaver in the event of a trip or fall or other health emergency.

Steps To Take In Preparation For Senior Home Care

Baby Boomers are being faced with the conundrum – what to do with my aging parent. You can certainly care for your senior relatives at their own home, but be aware that this takes planning and preparation. Undertaking a senior home care plan should be something that is discussed with all of the siblings and caregivers who will be at all involved in the process. If your parents are determined to remain independently at home, they too must be part of the solution to help make that happen.

  • One of the first items that should be reviewed is the conditions at home. Is the home that your aging loved ones are living in up to code? Is it cluttered? Does it need any remodeling to help it remain a viable option for them? Your assessment may mean you need to do a thorough cleaning, install seats and grab rails in the bathroom and shower and handrails throughout the home. Moving items from high level shelf space to lower level, easier to reach spots should also be done as well.
  • Location is another consideration. Are your parents in a location that is close to a hospital or other health care facility? Do they live a short distance from medical providers? If the home is isolated, they may need to consider a move to a more heavily populated area where access to health care is more readily available.
  • Are your parents able to live independently? Do either of them need consistent medical attention? If this is the case, they may need to move into an assisted living facility. If, however, they are able to live independent of full time assistance, perhaps they’d consider hiring a caregiver to come in several days a week to check that medications are being taken and to help with meal preparation. If you only have one parent to care for, is he or she truly capable of living alone? While it is difficult to consider giving up their independence, at times common sense must rule out.
  • Whether you’re looking to hire a caregiver or have the responsibility fall to a few of the relatives, what will be done when the caregiver has gone home for the day? You cannot predict when an illness or a slip and fall will occur and because of this, equipping the home with a medical monitoring device and your aging relative with a medical monitoring bracelet is an option that will offer peace of mind to both you and them.
  • Setting your aging relative up with the services such as those offered through LifeFone means there will be 24 hour a day, seven day a week assistance that is no further than the touch of a button. In the event something happens to the senior, they simply push a button and the customer care representatives at LifeFone ascertain the extent of the medical emergency, alert medical personnel and contact family members. With a medical alert bracelet or pendant you can rest assured that even when you can’t be there, your relative is truly not alone as long as they are wearing their medical alert pendant.

Why LifeFone is Better Than a Cell Phone

When shopping for a medical alert system and researching various companies and their competition,  it is common to ask yourself: Would purchasing a cell phone be just as effective and cost efficient as purchasing a medical alert system?

The short answer is No. While cell phones provide an abundance of helpful uses i.e. when your car breaks down on the side of the road or when you need to call the police, cell phones are simply not as reliable when medical emergencies strike as medical alert systems are for three main reasons. The first important difference is we don’t always have our cell phones on us (most of the time we may not even know exactly where our cell phone is located until we hear that familiar muffled ring emerging
from deep inside the couch cushion). Secondly, cell phones run of out battery, and finally cell phones do not bring up your medical history, or preferred treatment facility instantaneously like a med alert system does.

While most people carry their cell phones with them religiously when they are running errands or visiting friends and relatives, the majority of cell phone users don’t carry their cell phones with them while they are at home. Instead, they typically place the phone on the counter and move about the house. If you or your loved one were to experience a fall and as a result were rendered immobile, how would you reach your cell phone? If you cannot get to your cell phone to call for help, it is of absolutely no use to you. However, medical alert systems are conveniently worn on the body in the form of a necklace or a wristband, so there is no need to worry if the system is within reach. When the wearer finds that he or she is harm’s way, they simply press a button and help is immediately dispatched.
There is no need to dial any numbers or provide detailed information like you would be required to do with a cell phone. Medical alert buttons provide a renewed peace of mind that a cell phone simply cannot offer.

Cell phones also have a tendency to run out of battery. When your cell phone needs to be charged it is not located on your body and you are probably away from the charging port. Medical alert pendants do not need to be recharged and are always readily available. They also have a backup battery for when the power goes out.

Additionally, when you use your cell phone to call for medical help you are the one responsible for
providing your medical history, preferred treatment facility, and contacting your loved ones. With a med alert system this is not the case. When struck with a medical emergency, people are very rarely completely alert and in tune with their surroundings. Medical alert services take the additional stress out of a hectic situation by storing all the information you need. The moment the signal from your medical alert system is received at the LifeFone Emergency Response Center, your personal profile is displayed on their computer. Each user customized profile allows the LifeFone response team to access their specific needs, including their detailed medical history, their current medications and allergies, the physicians and facility they want to be taken to and the family members and neighbors they want alerted in the event of a medical emergency.  If you are an independent senior living alone, there is simply no safer alternative to a medical alert system. The benefits you get with a medical alert system far outweigh those of a cell phone.

When danger strikes, you and your loved one want to feel at ease knowing that help is available at the touch of a button. There are no numbers to dial or medical information to remember, which make your medical emergency that much easier to cope with.  While cell phones provide immeasurable help in countless situations, there simply is no substitute for a medical alert pendant that is always charged, worn on the body, and supplied with all necessary information when needed.

Preventative Planning for Low Stress Elderly Living

Medical and technological advancements have allowed for an entire new realm of living possibilities previously unimagined for the elderly as they reach retirement age. Despite such a diverse assortment of retirement living options, poll after poll continue to reveal that above all else, the elderly would prefer to live out their remaining years within the comfort of their own homes.

 Never has the option to remain at home been more practical than it is today. Technological advancements have afforded the elderly the opportunity to retain their independence and dignity while embracing the decision to avoid the transition into a long-term assisted living facility.

 Advancements such as med alerts, allow elderly individuals to live at home with the knowledge that help is available at the touch of a button. Staggering figures reveal that over 9,500 deaths occur in older Americans every year and one fourth of elderly individuals who sustain a hip fracture die as a direct result. With such alarming statistics, it is best to err on the side of caution. Med alert systems provide instant access to help in the event of an emergency. The less time lapsed between an injury and medical attention, the greater chance for recovery.

 Although the possibility of sustaining an injury within one’s home is frightening, living at home should not warrant a constant state of panic for the elderly or their family. The best way to avoid stress is to be prepared. Safety proofing ones home and equipping it with a med alert will ensure immediate assistance, whatever situation arises. By simply wearing a small lightweight pendant fashioned around the neck or wrist, a signal is instantly sent to a small home unit when pushed, which then sends a distress signal to emergency personnel. Immediately the medical alert base pulls up information regarding the individual’s doctors, their medical and existing health conditions and the loved ones they would like contacted.

With the knowledge that the elderly are backed by a trained team of professionals with a med alert, the majority of elderly individuals who wish to remain at home now have a practical option. Simply taking the necessary precautions has enabled a growing group of elderly to live out their remaining years with peace of mind and stability.

Investing in a Lifesaving Accessory

Securely fastened around the wrist, medical alert bracelets offer inconspicuous peace of mind as the only piece of jewelry that doubles as a lifeline. By simply attaching a well trusted and well researched medical alert bracelet to the wrist, the worrying is left to the professionals.

Medical alert bracelets automatically call the designated emergency response center to notify doctors, family and friends in the case of an emergency. The moment the signal is received from the medical alert bracelet, a team of trained professionals is set into immediate action.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention a 65-year old adult or older in the U.S. is treated in an emergency department every 18 seconds and an older adult dies as a result of their injuries every 35 minutes. With one in three older adults experiencing a fall every year in the U.S., equipping the elderly with a medical alert bracelet can mean the difference between life and death.

As difficulties arise with age, common household mainstays can become hazardous traps. While bathtubs and stairs are normal components of the household, they can be very expensive to retrofit. In case an emergency does happen to strike in a location within the home, it is comforting to know that help is on the way as soon as the elderly person presses their medical alert bracelet.

Investing in a medical alert bracelet is one way to alleviate some of the many stresses associated with aging.  Since accidents are not always preventable, the next best alternative is having professionals on hand 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Responding quickly to an emergency through the use of a medical alert bracelet can aid in minimizing complications associated with recovery and save the life of a loved one.