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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


by Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert

Rule 2. Pay down high-interest credit card balances first.

In other words, address what is causing the biggest dent in your wallet first. Then, once that card balance is zero, pay down the card with the next highest interest rate, and so on. To help you remember this rule, here is another way to look at it (which rhymes): Pay off the cards with low interest rates last, since they do not damage your wallet as fast.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


by Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert


During the process of creating “credit card commandments” (see the next few posts to come), I came up with a credit credo: “Once you get it, don’t regret it.”

This motto actually has multiple meanings.

First, obtaining credit cards to help pay bills over time is fine, but you need a plan to manage the resulting debt, especially when the degree of credit card usage rises during tough times. Learn the most important rules for handling credit cards, and you won’t regret getting those cards in the first place.

The second meaning is this: once you buy something using a credit card, don’t regret having bought it by paying much more for that item over time. This can occur if you only pay the minimum payment each month. Doing so adds a great deal to the final cost, thanks to accumulating interest charges on the amount you spent.


Let’s assume you have two or more credit cards, you have bought some items with them, and now you have a good deal of debt to deal with. To help you manage this debt, and avoid regretting getting the cards and the creature comforts you charged, consider the following ten tenets of dealing with credit cards. (Extra credit if you already know them.)

1. Pay down credit card balances with your extra cash, rather than investing that cash.

When you pay down the balance of a card that charges 18 percent interest per year, it is like getting a guaranteed 18 percent annual return on the money you used to pay it down. It’s not easy to find investments that guarantee an 18 percent gain, so rule number one almost always applies. The general rule is this: if a credit card interest rate is more than the rate of return of an investment you are considering, pay down that card; if less, invest.


Seniors, take note! If you don’t already know, the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D is ending this Wednesday. A CVS ad stated this fact. It also says: “CVS/pharmacy and the National Council on Aging urge you to review your Medicare Part D Plan choices for 2009,” adding that “We accept all Medicare Part D Plans.” Selecting the right plan for you is important (CVS claims that “choosing the right plan can save up to $250,” according to one study they cite), so do your homework and act fast. Tomorrow is only a day away!

by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert

Friday, August 29, 2008

HOME INTRUSION PROTECTION: Woman Uses Life Alert System To Inform Police Of Robbery

We at Life Alert often receive news coverage when we save someone's life or help prevent major harm from occurring. Sometimes we come to the aid of someone who is high profile (as in a recent incident where we sent help when ex-NYC Mayor Ed Koch accidentally pressed his Life Alert button).

Of course, in most cases the person is not famous. And we do get many reports involving Life Alert sending help not for a medical emergency, but for home intrusion. Such was the case two days ago, when one of our members used our system to stop an intruder who broke into her home. A West Palm Beach news outlet (WPBF) wrote a story about the incident, entitled “Woman Uses Life Alert System To Inform Police Of Robbery” -- and here is the link to that story:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fruit Juice Helps our Hearts; Fights Arterial Plaque Even Better Than Fruit Itself

by Dr. Don Rose

Based on an article by Jon Barron on his Health Blog


Have a hankering to hear how to help your heart stay healthy? How about some fruit juice! We always knew it tasted great, but now comes new proof it is good for us, too. Of course, for optimum heart health, fruit juice plus fitness activities plus a fine diet will help even more, but the research study discussed below shows that we now have even more reason to drink grape juice and apple juice instead of sodas. In short, this is grape news for everyone, from California to Apple-ate-ya. Okay, enough puns, just read the story below for all the juicy details. --Don Rose



Researchers from Universite Montpellier in France recently discovered that grapes and apples may prevent plaque from coating arterial walls when consumed with fatty, high-cholesterol foods. The researchers also found that apple and grape juices have a more powerful anti-plaque effect than the fruits themselves.

Research Study

The study followed several groups of hamsters -- one fed a normal diet, while the others enjoyed high-fat diets plus either fruit, water, or juice. The amount of fruit consumed by the little rodents was the human equivalent of three apples or bunches of grapes a day; the amount of juice was the equivalent of about four glasses. The hamsters in the purple grape juice group fared the best, with the lowest level of atherosclerosis, followed by those eating purple grapes. The apple-juice and apple-eating hamsters scored third and fourth, respectively. All the fruit- and juice-eating hamsters had lower cholesterol, less oxidative stress, and less fat accumulation in their aortas than the hamsters who consumed no fruit or juice.

The researchers assume that the cardiac benefits of fruit probably derive from phenolic compounds -- powerful antioxidants found in grapes and apples. Although grapes and apples contain the same amount of phenols in fruit form, grape juice has two-and-a-half times the amount that apple juice does. Earlier studies have found significant differences in phenol content from one fruit juice to another, with blueberry juice the leader of the pack, and apple, grape, pomegranate juices containing far more than the ever-popular orange, pineapple, and grapefruit juices.

According to the Universite Montpellier research team, the findings suggest that the amount of phenols contained in a food have a direct effect on its antioxidant properties. The results, they write, "provide encouragement that fruit and fruit juices may have a significant clinical and public health relevance."

Fruit vs. Fruit Juices

But that's only part of the story. A primary reason juices outperform fresh fruits in delivering antioxidants has to do with the way juice concentrates the nutrients. You get more bioactive punch for the mouthful from juice because you don't have to eat all that fiber. Also, the body can utilize the nutrients more readily since it doesn't have to separate nutrients from the fiber, minimizing the amount of energy consumed in digestion and freeing up that energy for healing. Thirdly, not all phenols are the same. Some, like EGCG in green tea, resveratrol in grapes, and curcumin in the spice turmeric, stand out. And then, of course, in addition to phenols, fruit juices contain other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, as well as minerals, living enzymes, and an assortment of phytochemicals.

Fresh Juice vs. Commercial Bottled Juice

Before you decide to implement the good news by washing down your beefsteak and fries with a glass of Welch's, here's something to consider. There's a world of difference between commercial bottled juice and freshly made juice. Within minutes of juicing, many of the nutrients and enzymes start to break down, rendering the benefits far less potent. By the time bottled juice gets to your mouth, particularly if it's been processed, it's a shadow of its original self. Also, while fruit juices provide many benefits, they contain a lot of sugar, so many people recommend emphasizing vegetable juices instead. In fact, a good juicer is probably the single best investment you can make in your health.


If you don't already own a juicer, look for a machine that's great at extraction, but also easy to use and clean. Some powerful juicers are so difficult to clean that they may end up going unused. Note that you can spend stratospheric amounts on a juicer such as a Norwalk, or pick a perfectly acceptable L'equip for about $130. The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer is another choice (you may have seen its ubiquitous infomercials on TV).

In terms of extraction, some people like the twin magnetic gear system used in juicers like the Green Star. But the Green Star has a big footprint on the counter and takes a bit of effort to clean -- although it's not as difficult as the Norwalk. Some say it is best for fasts, or when juicing heavily for several days in a row -- just clean it at the end of each day. If you're doing a lot of juicing during any given day, the Green Star is the way to go.

If you're new to juicing, consider the L'equip Mini Model 110.5 pulp ejector juicer. It may not have the best extraction method, but it does a decent job. Also, relative to most high-end juicers, it's quick to use and clean. With this Model, it's not that hard to make a quick glass of fresh squeezed juice -- the main thing many folks want from a juicer.

Closing Thoughts

Juicing is a great way to improve one’s health, but it is not recommended to make your juice and then eat junk food to round out your meals like the hamsters did. Although juice may moderate some of the harmful effects of high-fat, high-glycemic diets, it provides far more benefit when used as part of a healthy diet routine. In fact, there are many advocates of juice fasting because it gives the body a chance to detoxify and rebuild.

Also, while the information above shows that a good way to keep “heart healthy” is to drink more fruit juices, one never knows when one’s heart might malfunction, for any number of reasons. It can happen to anyone, at any age, even if you’ve lowered your risk for heart problems via good diet and exercise. If you sense the onset of a heart attack or irregular rhythms, call 911. If you are not near a phone, cannot get to a phone or cannot punch in the numbers, you can still get immediate help if you are a member of Life Alert; simply press your Life Alert help button to get in touch with live dispatchers within seconds, 24/7. They can send medical assistance to you, which will arrive in a matter of minutes. Life Alert members who are not home can also use a special one-button 911 cell phone (an optional Life Alert feature). If you don’t currently have Life Alert, see below for links to information on this valuable service.


The article above is covered by a Creative Commons License. The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

For more information about Life Alert and its many services for seniors and younger adults nationwide, please visit the following websites:

Monday, July 28, 2008


Here is a website you should know about, since it appears to be an excellent spot for a mental pitstop, a place to attain brain gain with little pain: The PositScience slogan is, "Your brain will thank you." We like it. One program grad quoted on their site says that the PositScience program "expanded [his] brain power" and "sharpened [him] as an individual." High praise, indeed.

The first item featured on the PositScience site's Products list is the Brain Fitness Program Classic (TM), "Posit Science’s original program for the auditory system of the brain," which is now available for both the PC and the Mac OS X operating system. This program "features six computer-based exercises" that are "designed to speed up auditory processing, improve working memory, and encourage the brain to produce more of the chemicals that help it remember."

What results can one expect by using this Brain Fitness Program? The site cites "clinical trials that demonstrate it speeds up auditory processing by 131%, improves memory by an average of 10 years, and more." Sounds quite impressive. More information at

Another product featured on the website is InSight, "Posit Science’s program for the visual system of the brain." More information at

Programs such as those offered by PositScience are becoming increasingly important for seniors as average lifespans continue to increase every year. The media often touts the crucial role of physical exercise, and while it is certainly important, mental exercise is just as vital for maintaining a healthy life.

Just as mental fitness, via systems like those offered by PositScience, enables seniors to maintain an independent lifestyle well into their advanced years, protection systems like Life Alert also enable independence to be maintained. With a fit body, sharp mind and protection against emergencies, today's seniors can increasingly put off or even eliminate the need to move to retirement homes, and instead choose to keep living with independence in their own homes.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Do you have signs of asthma? Have you been told you have it? Then you may want to take advantage of free screenings taking place during the month of May 2008. To read more about the free asthma screenings, click here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Women's heart health may not get as much media attention as breast cancer and other diseases, but the truth is that women need to take heart health to heart. The government website (the "Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information") points out several facts related to women and their hearts. For example:

One in three American women dies of heart disease. In 2003, almost twice as many women died of cardiovascular disease (both heart disease and stroke) than from all cancers combined. The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. But women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease. All women should take steps to prevent heart disease.

Both men and women have heart attacks, but more women who have heart attacks die from them. Treatments can limit heart damage but they must be given as soon as possible after a heart attack starts. Ideally, treatment should start within one hour of the first symptoms.

For more information about women and heart health, gets the FAQs at:

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.