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, February 26, 2009


Rule 10. Give yourself credit.

Not in the literal sense, but rather, take a moment to savor how good it feels each time you pay off another credit card. Congratulate yourself for a job well done. Then, after a bountiful bout of back-patting, get right back to paying off the rest of your cards. Before you know it, you’ll be debt free, or close to it. And you will feel… in-credit-able!

All these credit card tips were brought to you by Life Alert.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Rule 9. If your credit card company’s interest rate (APR) is too high, ask for a lower rate.

Another example of “If you ask, ye shall receive.” It cannot hurt to ask for a lower rate, which will mean less interest being charged to your account, which means you will be able to pay off that card faster. If you make payments on time, month after month, you become more reliable in the credit card company’s eyes, and hence it’s more likely you’ll be eligible for a lower APR. Many credit card companies automatically offer you a lower rate when you qualify, but if that call doesn’t come, take the initiative and ask for a lower rate yourself. If the first customer rep you ask says no, remember to ask for a supervisor!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Rule 8. If you pay late and get a late fee, ask customer service for a courtesy fee waiver.

If you ask, ye shall receive. Most know this saying, yet many don’t apply it in the real world. It does work, in the majority of cases. Most card companies are willing to help you. They can often credit back a late fee (especially if you have not been late before, or if it’s been a long time since you were late), or they can reduce the late fee (e.g., cut it in half). The longer you have been with your credit card company, the more leverage you have in asking for some relief. Also, if a late payment was not your fault (e.g., lost mail, a late statement, website issues, etc.), tell the supervisor this; it is easier for the supervisor to justify a waiver or reduction if something outside your control caused you to be late.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


by Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert

Rule 7. If you are not having success with a customer service rep, ask for a supervisor.

Seven of the most useful words in the English language are: “May I talk to a supervisor, please?” If a regular customer rep can’t accommodate you, a supervisor often can. This applies to asking for a credit card fee waiver or any other issue related to that company.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Rule 6. Consider cultivating a cash-only credo (cutting out credit).

The only way to reduce your credit card balances is to pay them off faster than you spend on them. Stopping spending on credit cards is the quickest path to a debt-free state. If you cut credit card usage to zero (or use them only for emergencies), you will not only reduce your outstanding credit card debt faster, but you can plan better and calculate when those balances will go to zero. Steady reduction in your balances month after month also looks good to credit reporting agencies. If you insist on using the cards, consider an alternate strategy: paying off whatever you spend each month plus the minimum payment due.

Monday, February 02, 2009


by Don Rose, Writer for Life Alert

Rule 5. Reduce credit card balances, but don’t get rid of zero-balance cards.

It is good to get your card balances down to zero as fast as possible, but resist the urge to get rid of cards once they have no balance. In addition to being a good backup or safety hedge in case of emergencies, your credit score is helped by having cards with small or zero balances. This is because FICO scores take into account the ratio of your total outstanding credit balance (across all cards) to the total amount of all your cards’ credit limits. The smaller this ratio, the better your score. The more zero-balance cards you have, the lower this ratio will be, which is desirable. Having zero-balance cards also shows you can manage credit, unlike folks who have most or all of their cards maxed out.

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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.