How to protect seniors -- older parents, relatives and loved ones -- who live alone. Tips on what to do in case of an emergency. Safety ideas.

Monday, December 19, 2005

At Home With Life Alert

Another great article - written by Virginia Marin.

"Would you like to live protected at home rather than in a retirement center for a few more years? Do you have health problems which prohibit your living alone? This article is about a life-saving advancement which may help to keep "Seniors on the Move" and at home.

The voice on the television says, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" No doubt you have heard it, but what does it mean? It means that there IS a way that seniors who live alone can now live at home for a while longer, rather than selling their home and going into one of the many retirement centers dotted across the land.

According to the American Health Care Association, the average age for a person entering a retirement center in the United States is 79 years. If there were a way to extend the time spent in one's own home, wouldn't that be better, financially and emotionally? But, what about accidents? For seniors who live alone and could not reach the telephone in an emergency, who would help them? Now, there is a system to meet the need- Life Alert . No, this is not an advertisement. It is an information alert to seniors, family, and caregivers that Life Alert is one system, among a few others, which can help families.

As the years pass, our health risks increase exponentially. We find ourselves more susceptible to injuries, falls, and fractures, especially those falls related to osteoporosis. There are also life-threatening police, fire, and medical emergencies--for example, every minute in the United States, someone experiences a stroke, with the risk doubling for every ten years over age 55. The American Heart Association tells us that four out of five people who die of coronary disease are 65 years of age or older. And fire? Most deaths from fire occur during sleeping hours between 11PM and 7AM.

But now there is Life Alert to help seniors. Life Alert is a small pendant worn on the person. It is activated by pressing a button which instantly activates a control unit located in one's home. The unit immediately notifies the Life Alert Monitoring Center, beginning a two-way voice exchange between the wearer and an operator. Should there be no response from the wearer, Life Alert immediately notifies the proper authorities, and help is on the way! The pendant also functions on a local 911 basis. The cost is nominal.

Friday, December 16, 2005

High-Tech For Seniors

Today I came across an extremely interesting article on different things how technology can help seniors to improve their lives called "High-tech for seniors way beyond The Clapper and Life Alert. It is written by Randolph Schmid, The Associated Press. Here are some abstracts from it:

WASHINGTON — One day, people with Alzheimer's disease could have telephones that show them a picture of the caller and remind them who it is and when they last talked.

They might walk across a floor with sensors that check their gait and sound an alarm if they fall. Others might relax on a bed that monitors their pulse and breathing.

New technologies for seniors, supplementing conveniences like The Clapper and emergency warnings like Life Alert, are on display this week at the White House Conference on Aging.
The goal is to provide technologies that "help seniors and their families live happy and healthy in their own home," said Eric Dishman, chairman of the Center for Aging Services Technologies, or CAST, and general manager and global director of Intel Health Researh and Innovation Group...

There are four main focus areas for the new innovations, Dishman said: disease prevention, early detection, caregiver support and maintaining independence.

Then he lists interesting gadgets that already exist like
- Intel's phone which provides you a photo of the caller and tells you who they are and when they last talked to you (for those who have problems with their memory)
- Accenture medicine cabinet that can help traking what medicine should be taken. A voice can remind it's time to take a pill and warns if the wrong bottle is chosen.
- Floor sensors that can track the movement of a senior and beds that sense breating rate and pulse and call caregiver for help when there are suddent changes.
- A watch and computer system that tracks the movement of people in their homes. If they fail to go to their pills it can broadcast to a computer to provide reminders.

Well, I am sure that all these things are very expensive at this time and may not be fully developed yet. So let's stick to the proven services in case we "fallen and can't get up".


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Worries about my Elderly Mom

You know, the story about Ingrid can not leave me. I have an elderly Mom who lives alone. It’s not easy going to sleep at night thinking about my mother being alone. It’s even harder concentrating when I’m at work. I call her everyday at least 2 to 3 times. She doesn’t always answer the phone, and I feel like dropping everything and running over there to check on her. It is not an easy situation since I have a household of my own to take care of. I would move her in with me, but she will not even think about leaving her home. She would feel like she was being babysat. She would just about kill me if I mentioned the N word. (Nursing home) She worked hard all her life to pay for her home and she’s not leaving and that’s that.

I managed to make her home as safe as possible by putting in night lights so she can see where she’s going in the middle of the night when she gets up to use the restroom. I have cleared a path, tied up cords, and installed grab bars in her shower. I feel a little better, but there is always that thought in my mind: Is she okay? This is my life right now and it seems like it is only getting worse. I think I should consider getting her Life Alert one of these days.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How to recognize a stroke

It is been some time since I wrote last time. A friend died unexpectedly. I still can not recover from this. I must tell you what happened - it may save lives of many people.

During a BBQ my friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital (at 6:00pm, Ingrid passed away.)

She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ - had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke perhaps Ingrid would be with us today.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally.. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours which is tough. Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize thesymptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking threesimple questions:
1. *Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
3. *Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. . . It is sunny out today)

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

Yes, it is very important to get help fast. This is why the service like Life Alert is getting used by so many people. If you pushed the life alert button and can not speak - they recognize the possibility of a stroke and send paramedics right away.

About Me

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Life Alert is the leading emergency response company, dedicated to solving home safety issues. With a touch of a button, Life Alert sends help fast, 24/7, whether it’s for a medical, fall, fire, or home invasion emergency, even when you can’t reach a phone. Life Alert saves a life from a catastrophic every 10 minutes and has received over 25,000 testimonials from grateful customers since 2008, and was the ONLY company former Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, endorsed until his death in 2013. Founded in 1987, Life Alert has become the industry leader in personal protection but also has become a pop culture icon with their classic slogan, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” which was ranked #1 by USA TODAY in its list of the most memorable TV commercials. In 2008, “The Martha Stewart Show” featured Life Alert and recommend them to all of the patients at the Martha Stewart Center for Living while pointing out that Life Alert is "so inexpensive yet so vital for people." Life Alert, their slogan and/or pendant have been featured in many T.V. shows such as 30 Rock, Supernatural, The Goldbergs, and Jay Leno frequently referred to their famous slogan on The Tonight Show.