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.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reach Out and Hug Someone... Virtually

Based on a posting by Roba at the website "And Far Away"

Edited by Don Rose


Here is an invention designed to provide"The Hug" you cannot give because you are too far away.

Robotics researchers have designed a soft, huggable pillow that uses sensing and wireless phone technology to provide a physical touch, and thus better social and emotional support, for distant family members. The device, which is about the size of a throw pillow but as firm as a seat cushion, is shaped like a person about to give a hug, with two arms reaching up and out from a small torso. The outside is covered in velour, "making it soft and plush and something you would want to hold up against your body."

Another example of technology bringing us closer together. To paraphrase an old phone commercial, now you can "Reach out and hug someone."

I believe The Hug device could prove useful for enhancing the feeling of closeness between family members -- in particular, between mature adults living alone and their children. For the kids, it's the next best thing to being there (with grandma or grandpa). I also believe The Hug and products like it are just initial examples of an inevitable wave of products geared toward making older folks feel more companionship and love while living alone at home.

For more on The Hug, read the article here.


The article above and the content it is based on are covered by a Creative Commons License.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on many topics, including computers, the Internet, artificial intelligence, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Free Medicine Foundation Helps Patients Taking Costly Cholesterol Drugs Receive Prescription Assistance, But Exercise Caution

Free prescription drugs for people with high cholesterol and a history of heart problems are available to households with incomes as high as $80,000, according to an organization called the Free Medicine Foundation ( They say that most brand-name prescription drugs are accessible through free or low-cost assistance programs. However, you should note that the FMF does charge a "one-time refundable $5 processing fee for each medication requested." Below, we present a press release from the FMF, then a word of caution from the site.

Doniphan, MO (PRWEB) December 6, 2006 – People with high cholesterol or a history of heart problems, concerned over how to pay for their prescription medication, now have a resource to help them: Free Medicine Foundation. Although free medicine assistance has been around for more than 50 years, most people have never heard about and do not know how to apply for free medicine. Free Medicine Foundation's mission is to inform the media and the public of assistance that may be available to thousands of Americans who don't even realize they qualify for such help.

People with bad cholesterol, or LDL, know that it can be inherited from their family members with a history of heart problems or it can be a result of their body chemistry. It can also be the result of a diet high in saturated fats, lack of exercise or diabetes. Changing one's diet and losing weight help in reducing high cholesterol levels, but many people also need to take medicine to keep their bad cholesterol levels down. That's where Free Medicine Foundation can help.

Many lipid-lowering treatments are available for free or low-cost. The following medicines may be available through a free or low-cost plan located through Free Medicine Foundation: Lipitor, Zocor, Vytorin, Lescol, Altocor, Mevacor, Simvastatin, Aspirin and Pravastatin, Atorvastatin, Atromid-S, Clofibrate, Ezetimibe, Fluvastatin, Gemfibrozil, Lescol XL, Lopid, Lopid Tablets, Lovastatin, Pravigard Pac, Zetia and hundreds more. Patients can apply for as many medicines as they need; there is no limit. Keep in mind that prescription assistance is available for most all medications.

Free Medicine Foundation works tirelessly to match patients with hundreds of free or low-cost available programs by scouring available medicine assistance plans to find plans that match applicant needs. "Since our inception, we have helped countless families across the nation completely eliminate or substantially reduce their prescription drug bills," says Cindy Randolph, spokesperson for the Free Medicine Foundation organization. "Although we cannot guarantee your approval, if you believe you may qualify to participate, we will be diligent in our efforts to assist you. Past results have proven our program successful."

This program is for those who are falling through the cracks financially, and make just enough money so they don't qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford a prescription coverage plan or to buy their own medications. Keep in mind these programs are not just for poor people. For people who find it a hardship to buy their medicines, should apply for prescription assistance.

Drug sponsors recognize that sometimes exceptions need to be made based on a patient's individual circumstances. Individuals who do not meet these criteria may still qualify if both they and their physicians attest that the patients have special circumstances of financial and medical hardship, and their incomes are below an established limit. With each medication, the income criteria varies from below the poverty level up to $39,200 for individuals, $52,800 for couples, and as high as $80,000 for a family of four.

Upon approval, brand-name free medicines typically arrive in two to three weeks, sent directly to the patient's home, or a coupon is given to take to a local pharmacy or sent to the doctor's office, typically in a 90-day supply. These programs can provide an ongoing lifetime supply of free medication. If the patient is not approved, and receives no medicine assistance, Free Medicine Foundation refunds the full processing fee per no risk money back guarantee. The patient has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

3.4 million seniors will enter the uninsured "donut hole" and start paying the next $2,850 out of their own pockets. Free Medicine Foundation can help cut this cost by over 90%. Pet medicines are also available through low-cost assistance programs.

Caregivers, churches and social organizations are encouraged to utilize Free Medicine Foundation's services. Volunteers are needed to help spread the word to those who cannot afford the high costs of prescription medication. Send Free Medicine Foundation an e-mail or call 1-573-996-3333 to request a free supply of brochure-enrollment forms that are designed to provide the patient/applicant with information and an application for the program. Patients can apply directly online or print the application in English or Spanish. Free Medicine Foundation requires a one-time refundable $5 processing fee for each medication requested.

For patients who require ongoing cholesterol lipid-lowering treatments, Free Medicine Foundation can be a lifesaver. To learn more, apply or request a free brochure visit: or call 1-573-996-3333.


Caution on “Free” Drug Programs

The website says the following, related to the Free Medicine Foundation:

"An organization called the Free Medicine Foundation has been recently marketing their services. The Better Business Bureau indicates the Free Medicine Foundation has an unsatisfactory standing with their organization. The BBB points out that this organization is not registered as a “foundation” and they don’t actually provide their services for “free.” The application process for the Free Medicine Foundation requires that the individual pay them $5 per medication, in order for them to
check on whether you qualify for one of the pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs.

There are other organizations that advertise similar services, stating they will attempt to connect individuals with these free or low cost patient assistance programs for a fee. The fee is usually $5-10 per medication, without a guarantee that they will be successful. Consumers should exercise caution when considering using such a service.

NOTE: Information about these patient assistance programs is available for free through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance or 1-888-477-2669. They are a reputable organization that does provide this information and referral service for consumers for free (“free” in this context actually meaning no cost to the individual). "


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.