Tag Archives: medical alert system

Six Medication Safety Tips

At Caregivers Connection, we are aware that one of your greatest concerns is the safety of your loved one.  Whether or not they are properly taking their medication is probably high on the list of things you think about when you are not with them.  Here’s six medication safety tips that are easy for you, and them, to follow. Continue reading

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.

Making A Decision To Commit To Home Medical Alert Technology

As a caregiver you’ve seen your parents’ health fade a little bit every year. It could be something as simple as being more forgetful, or stumbling when she walks or maybe your father is dealing with an illness or one or both of them are recovering from a hospital stay. They’re determined to remain in their own home and for the time being that might be an option.

The ability to age in place is a powerful motivator for many seniors as they are accustomed to being independent and taking care of the family and are not comfortable in the role of accepting care. Talk with them and discuss the possibility of equipping the home with a medical alert device and the two of them with medical alert pendants. These devices can save lives as well as providing peace of mind for both your parents and you, as the caregiver, for those times when they are home alone.

What should you look for in a medical alert device? Here are some items to take into consideration:

  • The technology of the console itself. Look for a device that provides two-way voice      communication
  • Make certain both the pendants and the consoles have been approved by the Underwriters Laboratories as Home Health Care Signaling Devices.
  • Check into the range of protection the device offers. There are some systems that provide protection up to 300 feet from the console and others that provide coverage up to 1,500 feet from the console. Determine where the console will be placed then choose a range that will suit your needs. If your parents like to go out of doors, make sure the unit will still work when they are outside.
  • The pendant should be waterproof and lightweight. You want your parents to be comfortable wearing the device and you want to know they are protected even if they are in the bathtub or shower.
  • Look for pedants that do not need to have batteries to replace.
  • Does the equipment come with a lifetime warranty? Will there be a cost if it needs to be replaced?
  • What happens if the power goes out? Is there a battery back up in place and if so, for how many hours will your loved ones be protected?
  • Does the service provider you’re going to work with have a plan in place in the event of a power outage? At LifeFone, the emergency response center is notified if the power goes out and notifies loved ones. The base unit has a back-up battery that can last anywhere from 32-60 hours.
  • Does the medical monitoring device provide a way to answer the telephone from the pendant? With LifeFone, a phone call can be answered by simply pushing the button on the pendant and speaking into the speaker console (this can be done from across the room which means your parents won’t have to rush to answer the telephone)
  • Do you have to sign a contract with the provider of your medical alert system or is it a      month-to-month situation? LifeFone does not require a time commitment meaning you can cancel at any time and get a full refund for any unused, prepaid service.

These are some of the basic questions you will want to ask a potential medical device provider before making any kind of a purchasing decision.


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.

Senior-Friendly Benefits Of Medical Alert Systems

The idea of a medical alert system seems like a good idea to the person suggesting it, but it may feel like an invasion of privacy to the elderly individual wearing it. The senior who’s faced with wearing a medical alert pendant may not want to consider that they are in need of that type of equipment because it forces them to face their fears of aging and mortality.

The medical alert system is a godsend for many as it provides a sense of independence and a feeling of security, an especially important feeling if they live alone. Whether they want to admit it, the senior in your life may feel a sense of apprehension at the idea of living alone, and this is more true if he or she has suffered a fall or is dealing with an ongoing health concern. For individuals living alone, a medical alert system provides a sense of security because they know if they are injured or fall ill when they are home alone, they can summon assistance at the push of a button.

The components of a medical alert system include a transmitter base unit that is placed in a central location in the home and the medical alert pendant or bracelet that your aging relative wears. The pendant can, and should be, worn 24 hours a day; the devices are waterproof which allows for wear in the tub or shower. If the wearer suffers a medical emergency, he or she needs only push the button on the pendant and a signal is sent to the base unit which then transmits a message to the medical alert monitoring center. Trained specialists at the center then provide assistance. The way the device works, in practice, is that once the individual presses the button and the monitoring center is alerted, there will be verbal communication between the center and your aging relative. The monitoring center specialist has access to the individuals’ medical records and emergency contact numbers. As a fail safe in the event of a power outage the base unit is equipped with a backup power system to ensure that the elderly individual remains protected.

When signing up for a home medical monitoring service, you will be asked to complete a health information intake form and will be asked about medications and current health condition and any disabilities. The individual being equipped with the system will also have an option to add preferences on who should be contacted in the event of a health crisis – family, doctors, specific healthcare providers, etc.

If the senior in your life balks at the idea of this constant monitoring, impress on them what they’re gaining – the ability to age in place, peace of mind in the event of a medical emergency and an overall feeling of security for those who live alone. For some individuals, wearing a medical alert pendant may mean they can delay having to move into an assisted living facility because this device may allow for more years of independence because it is a lifeline to emergency care.

Make The Most Of Your Doctor’s Visits

Feeling rushed when going to a doctor’s appointment seems to be the norm rather than an exception, most individuals say. Older adults especially may feel rushed and may hesitate to ask their doctor any questions other than for the medical issue at hand. Being unable to speak freely with your physician though can lead to health consequences as a small issue may escalate into a much larger health concern if unaddressed.

According to studies, nine out of ten patients, regardless of age, have a hard time communicating with their physician, but as they age, they have a more difficult time understanding the information the doctors are passing along to them. As your parents age it is usually a good idea to have a family member attend the office visits and take notes on what the doctor says and help your elderly parents voice their concerns. It’s also a good idea to get your aging relatives to keep a notebook of medical concerns and aches and pains as they arise between doctor’s visits.

If the seniors in your life aren’t able to get a family member to go to the doctor’s visit and advocate for them, they need to be able to speak up and ask the doctor to repeat information and instructions; they should also bring their notebook and go through the list of medical concerns. Be sure to stress to them the importance of taking careful notes.

Taking all current medications to doctor’s visits with them is also a good idea as the doctor will want to see the medications and the dosage, especially if your aging parent has more than one doctor treating them. Having the doctor check your elderly loved ones medications will help prevent harmful drug interactions. In some cases, drug interactions can cause dizziness which can lead to trip and fall accidents. In individuals over the age of 65, trip and fall accidents are the leading reason they become hospitalized and may lose the ability to age in place.

If the seniors in your life are determined to age in place, then taking care of their health on a daily basis is a must. Another way to help them remain independent and to provide peace of mind to all family members is to equip the home with a medical alert system; these devices provide the senior with a medical alert pendant and in the event of an emergency at the push of a button medical personnel can be dispatched.

Remaining active, taking medications at the prescribed doses, having the home age-proofed and having access to a medical alert device can help your aging parent remain safe and healthy in his or her own home.

5 Tips To Aid In Planning For Aging At Home

As many Baby Boomers are discovering, caring for aging parents is not an easy undertaking. This is due in part to aging relatives who are unwilling or unable to age gracefully, either because they ignore it or refuse to make changes to accommodate their aging. Regardless of how healthy and in-shape your parents may have been in their younger years, they need to understand that the aging process affects everyone and changes need to be made to take this process into consideration.

Some items that seniors and their caregivers may not think of when it comes to aging – but that they should address before concerns arise are as follows:

  1. Denying that aging is happening and that changes need to be made. Many seniors overlook or neglect health problems simply because they don’t want to think that they are having these problems as they are  getting older. Many seniors will put off going to the doctor until a condition has gone beyond a simple doctor’s visit and escalated to the hospitalization stage. If you see your aging relatives’ health conditions deteriorating, you need to be proactive and have a family meeting if necessary to help them face the issues.
  2. No prior planning for an eventual health care issue. Denial is common when it comes to the potential for health care needs and emergencies arising as we age. You need to work with your aging relatives to take steps to have plans and procedures in place for when an emergency arises. One of the best steps you can take is have a home medical alert system put in place. These systems – in which your relative will wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant – offer round the clock access to a service that will be dispatched in the event of a fall or other health crisis. Once the button is pressed, customer service representatives from LifeFone put their training into action and offer assistance to the patient through placing a phone call, talking to the individual and if they don’t answer the phone, emergency medical personnel is dispatched to provide assistance.
  3. Refusal to ask for help. Your parents have always been the ones to provide help and assistance to you – their child, regardless of how old you are – it is difficult for them to admit that the tables have been turned and they now need help. You need to assure them that you’re there to offer support and that your concern for their health is the utmost concern.
  4. Being unaware of the service providers that are available. Until you need a home medical alert system such as LifeFone, chances are you never gave it a thought. A home medical alert system allows your relative to age in place – something that is very important to many aging adults – as it provides 24 hour a day peace of mind knowing that when you’re not there, your parent is being monitored and at the push of a button assistance will be dispatched. Looking into hiring a home healthcare aide is also something to consider if no relatives live close enough to stop in and help out at least once a week. Errands, grocery shopping, cooking meals and other items can be taken care of by a home healthcare aide.
  5. Giving up all they’ve worked for. Because your parents worked for years to put a roof of their family’s heads, home ownership is a source of pride. Couple that with the fact that downsizing is difficult and people want to hold onto cherished items, and the idea of moving out of the family home and into a smaller one or an assisted living facility is not something your aging parents will likely embrace. Individuals want to keep their homes and might be unaware of the options available to help them do that. Researching the installation of home medical alert equipment and retaining the services of a home healthcare worker in the event no family member can take on the responsibility may offer the seniors in your life the option to age at home.

Being armed with options and having facts and figures at hand before you and your siblings approach your aging parents to discuss their plans as they age can help you make informed decisions that will be in the best interests of all involved.

5 Tips To Help The Elderly Enjoy The Holidays

Holidays are a wonderful time for most of us; we get together with family and friends – some of whom we haven’t seen since the previous year. For the elderly in your family though, the holidays can be stressful, depressing or even confusing, especially if their emotional and physical needs are not taken into account.

 Having older relatives means you need to take their health concerns into account, especially if they are traveling to a family member’s house with you. Here are some tips from the home medical alert system providers at LifeFone to help make your holidays merry and safe:

  1. Prior planning is crucial to a successful holiday visit. If your elderly family members are in an environment that takes them out of their element, you need to plan for downtime where they can slip away from the hustle and bustle of the day and simply relax. Noise and confusion that comes with a large gathering can lead to exhaustion or even irritability in your older relative.
  2. Take time to reminisce. For many holidays are a time of good cheer and looking forward to the new year. When it comes to elderly relatives though, it could be a time of year that causes them to miss their spouses or other relatives who are no longer with you. Spend some time strolling down memory lane with your elderly relative; engage him in conversation about what it was like when they celebrated holidays, etc. Include them in the conversation and even pull out old photo albums to enhance the memories.
  3. Build new memories with your relative. Include them in the festivities if possible – let them help with the cooking or decorating or gift wrapping. If you live in an area that offers holiday activities, pack the family up, grab a camera and make new memories to fill an album.
  4. Rearrange the furniture for ease of movement of your elderly relatives. Just as you’d child proof your home for toddlers, you will want to make your home easy to navigate for your aging relatives. Arrange the furniture in a way that will accommodate walkers or individuals who use a cane. Keep electrical cords out of the way, remove or secure throw rugs, eliminate items that could trip up a relative with balance problems. In the event of an extended out of town visit, make certain you’ve contacted your home medical alert system and make certain your relative is still wearing his or her medical alert pendant in the event of a fall.
  5. Be purposeful in reaching out to your elderly family members. If they are unable or unwilling to travel to meet with the family for a celebration, take some time to have a mini-celebration to their house. Offer to set up a small tree or hang other decorations. Either deliver or cook a small meal at their house. Do what you can to alleviate their loneliness as the holidays are associated with increased depression in individuals of all ages.

 Taking time to include your elderly relatives through the holidays is a great way to help everyone in the family build memories that will last a lifetime and with a bit of prior planning, no one will get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.

Medical Alert System Helps in the Event of a Fall or Serious Medical Concern.

Falls can have serious consequences. About 10% to 15% of all falls in older people will result in some serious physical injury.  Fractures occur in 5% of all falls while fall-related injuries are reported to be the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly population and the most likely cause of accidental death. According toYaleUniversityMedicalSchool, the chances of surviving are six times greater if an individual who falls is found within an hour.

Facts about falls

  •  More than one third of adults 65 and older fall every year in the United States.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Over 1.8 million people 65 and older each year are treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Continue reading

Medical Alert System Helps in the Event of a Fall or Serious Medical Concern.

Falls can have serious consequences. About 10% to 15% of all falls in older people will result in some serious physical injury.  Fractures occur in 5% of all falls while fall-related injuries are reported to be the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly population and the most likely cause of accidental death. According toYaleUniversityMedicalSchool, the chances of surviving are six times greater if an individual who falls is found within an hour.

Facts about falls

  •  More than one third of adults 65 and older fall every year in the United States.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Over 1.8 million people 65 and older each year are treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Continue reading