Showing posts with label GPS medical alert device. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GPS medical alert device. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Products for Safer Aging in Your Home

By the time you are in your 70s or 80s, there is a very good chance you will either be living alone or with a partially disabled spouse. Since the vast majority of senior citizens choose to live independently in their own home or apartment, seniors may feel more secure if they take advantage of modern technology to help them age safely.

As you age, you may begin to feel lonely and isolated, especially if it becomes difficult to drive or walk long distances.  You may also become uncomfortable if familiar neighbors move away and strangers occupy the neighboring homes.  In some cases, you could become unsure who to rely on in an emergency. However, there are a few simple purchases you can make which will keep you connected to the outside world and help you feel safer.

There are a wide variety of safety options available.  Most of them are useful long before you need them because of aging.  The items mentioned below fall into three categories ... items which will keep you safe from intruders, tools to make it easier to get help in an emergency, and products to reduce accidents in your home. 

Products to Protect Yourself from Intruders

Security Systems - Security systems are available from a number of companies including ADT and Costco.  When activated, they will sound an alarm if someone enters a door or window.  If the system you choose is connected to a monitoring company, the agent can contact the police or fire department if there are signs of an intruder or fire.

Ring Video Doorbell - If you simply want to know who is ringing your doorbell, the Ring Video doorbell has a camera which connects to your smartphone and will show you who is standing at your door, whether you are home or not.  It also allows you to speak to the person without opening your door.  You can even tell the UPS deliveryman to leave a package at your door, so you do not have to open the door to a stranger, especially if you are not expecting a delivery.

Motion-detector lights - If the area around your home is dark, motion-detector lights which come on automatically when anyone approaches will make intruders more visible and likely to flee if they are trying to break into your home.  It will also make you more aware of the fact that a person or animal has approached your home. Home Depot, Lowe's and lighting supply companies can sell you the light fixtures and arrange installation, although some of the devices can be easily screwed into an existing fixture.

Products for Contacting Assistance in an Emergency

Personal Safety Devices - You have probably seen the television ads with an elderly person falling and calling out, "Help, I can't get up."  The older you are, the greater the possibility this could actually happen.  There are several companies, such as Great Call, Life Alert and Medical Alert, which have products that can solve this problem.  You wear a bracelet or pendant and, should you need an ambulance, the fire department, or the police, you only need to press a button in order to be connected to a response agent who will call a friend, neighbor or the appropriate emergency service for you. Some of the devices work only in your home when you are near the transmitter.  Others will work wherever you go.  Make sure you understand how the system works before you purchase it.

Jitterbug and other Smart Phones - If you do not want to wear a medical alert pendant or bracelet, you could purchase a product like the Jitterbug phone which is an easy-to-use cell phone, texting and email device; it also doubles as a personal safety device which comes with Great Call's safety app.  You simply press an icon on the face of the phone and will be connected directly to a response agent who can get you the help you need.  If you do not want to purchase a new device, you can set up your current smart phone with an emergency call app, so it is quick and easy for you to call emergency services.  If you decide you prefer using a mobile phone rather than a personal safety device, it is important you carry your phone on your person or keep it within reach at all times.

CapTel Captioned Telephone - Do you have trouble hearing, which makes it difficult for you to easily use your home telephone?  The CapTel amplified and captioned telephone has a screen which converts the spoken word to captions on the phone's screen.  At the same time, the sound of the words are amplified by the phone. The combination of having the words made louder and a screen which allows you to read what the person is saying, makes it much easier for you to communicate with the outside world.  This could be especially important in an emergency when you do not want to waste time asking the other party to repeat what they are saying. 

Products to Prevent Accidents in Your Home

Night lights - Accidents are more likely to happen in the dark.  Having night lights in the bathroom and dark hallways will reduce your risk of tripping over something in the dark. In addition, if there is a fire in your home and your access to the nearest exit is obscured by smoke, night lights could help you find your way. You can find inexpensive night lights at nearly any drug or grocery store.

Illuminated light switch covers - Another way to add light to your home at night is to have the light switch covers changed to ones which are illuminated.  They will emit a tiny amount of light, but make it much easier to find the switch in a dark room.

Stair lifts - If you live in a two-story home and have difficulty going up and down the stairs, you do not have to put yourself at risk of falling.  Companies such as Acorn, AmeriGlide and Bruno Stair Lifts provide a safe way to sit on a seat and be carried safely up and down the stairs.  A stair lift can also make it possible for you to stay in a home you love, rather than move because the stairs are giving you difficulty.

Walk-in Bathtubs - One major danger when you live alone is a fall in your shower or bathtub.  One solution is purchasing an inexpensive waterproof stool to use in the shower.  Another solution is a walk-in bathtub.  You open a door on the side of the tub, walk in, sit on the seat and close the door.  Then you fill the tub with water.  The tubs often have heated seats and massaging hydro-jets to make the experience even more relaxing.  Most of all, however, you no longer have to step over the edge of a slippery tub to take a bath.  After your bath, you remain safely seated while you drain the tub, open the door and then step out.  American Standard, Safe Step, Kohler, Jacuzzi and several other companies offer these tubs, so it is wise to shop around for the one which feels comfortable and is the most affordable option for your needs.

Lift Chairs - If you have difficulty getting out of a chair, especially after surgery or an injury, a lift chair may make it easier for you to get to a standing position.  Some of them also double as the perfect sleep chairs and may come with heat and massage.  They can be very helpful if you have difficulty sleeping on a flat mattress or getting out of bed in the morning.

If you are interested in more information about dealing with common medical problems as you age, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs and pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Independent Living Technology for Aging in Place

Would you or your aging parents like to avoid going into a nursing home and remain independent as long as possible, despite concerns about health, falls, declining memory or similar problems?  In the past, many senior citizens have gone into assisted living or skilled nursing facilities because family members were concerned that they could fall, wander off or were not taking their medications and eating properly.  Today, modern technology is allowing many people to age in place and stay in their own homes much longer than ever before.

While not everyone is likely to need all the different types of technology that are available to keep them safe, just using a few of the items listed here could help you stay in your home for years longer than you thought possible.  Below are a selection of great innovations.

Independent Living Technology to Assist Senior Citizens 


PERS Providers (Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems)

There are a number of excellent PERS providers.  Each one has its own benefits, so it would be wise to check out several to see which system will bring you and your family members the most peace of mind.  Anyone with a serious illness that could cause them to faint or become confused would benefit from owning a system and keeping the device with them all the time.  PERS are also a good idea for healthy retirees who spend a lot of time alone.

GreatCall 5 Star Urgent Response SystemThis system can be used at home or when traveling ... either in your own neighborhood or around the United States.  Once you have purchased the inexpensive equipment, you then sign up for affordable monthly monitoring.  After it is set up, all the owner of the device has to do in order to summon help is push a button on a small device they wear as a pendant, bracelet or attached to a belt.  They can get in touch with a real person in the event they fall, become ill, or get confused or lost.  They will automatically be connected to trained emergency agents who can then determine what type of help they need and whether to call an ambulance, or connect the client to a nurse, neighbor or relative.   You provide them with a list of emergency numbers to call and they will contact these people when you need help.  It is very reassuring to know that, at the very least, a neighbor or friend could come over if something happens. It is a GPS system, so the agents can find you if you become lost, no matter where you are within the United States. 

You can use this Amazon link to learn more about the devices: GreatCall 5 Star devices from Amazon.


You can also contact:

Connect America - This is another mobile emergency response system that travels with you, wherever you go.  You can compare prices of their devices and the monthly monitoring fee with the other devices listed here.


Life Alert - This system is similar to the others and has the additional option that it can be set up on your smartphone, so it will speed-dial the monitoring agency for you from your phone, as well as on the pendant you wear.


Mobile Help - This company provides a combination mobile PERS system with a home base station.  Depending on the arrangements you make, the response team can both call and email your family to let them know where you are, including if you have been taken to a hospital.  In addition, it has a fall detection system that will summon help, even if you are not able to push the button or speak.  This system is particularly advantageous for someone who is in danger of passing out.


Philips Lifeline with Auto Alert - This is an affordable personal emergency response device that currently only works using a base station in your home.  Like most systems, the senior citizen wears a help button as a pendant or bracelet.  This device also has the ability to detect a fall and connect you to a response center.



Another reason why some people need to go into nursing homes is because they fail to take life-saving medication at the correct times.  The MedMinder aggressively alerts you so you know when it is time to take your medication.  You can purchase either a locking or non-locking medication tray.  The locking tray unlocks the compartment when it is time to take the medication.  The dispenser flashes and beeps until the medication is taken.  There are also voice alarms and automated phone calls.  A relative can log onto the website and see if the medication has been taken.  If you wish,  they will also receive an email, text or phone call if the medication has not been taken in a timely manner.  With this system, either you or a caregiver will need to fill the medication tray once a week.  This can minimize the frequency of visits from a caregiver, save you money, and make it possible to stay in your own home.


Reminder Rosie

This is a simple voice activated alarm clock that reminds you to take your medicine.  It is a much simpler device than the MedMinder, but works fine for many people who do not need such an aggressive reminder.


Grand Care Systems

Do you feel that you or your loved one needs a more comprehensive type of medical monitoring system?  Then the Grand Care system may be the right choice for your family.  With Grand Care, you place wireless sensors around the house and link them to the company via the internet.  The sensors can track daily activity so that you are assured that your loved one is moving around, opening the refrigerator, etc.  It can also monitor the person's glucose, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, their weight, etc.    It comes with an interactive touch screen that allows seniors to video chat with their family or simply watch videos, use Facebook or play games.  This can be perfect in families that are able to visit a few times a week and they just want some reassurance that everything is OK between their visits.


Which Independent Living Technology is Best for You?

Since I currently live in a retirement community, I have noticed that several people I know are subscribing to mobile personal emergency response systems.  Most of them are deciding to do this on their own, without being urged to do so by their adult children.  Sometimes they make the decision because they or someone they know has experienced a traumatic event, such as fall or heart attack, when they were home alone.  This is something you can do entirely on your own, without involving other family members.  In fact, you can choose to just give the emergency dispatch team the numbers of your doctors, ambulance service and neighbors, rather than family members, if you do not have a family member who is close enough to provide assistance.  Which people they will contact is entirely up to you.

If you worry about taking your medication on time, either you or a caregiver can set up the MedMinder or Reminder Rosie.  Even if you do not have memory problems, these devices can help assure you that you are taking your medication exactly as prescribed.

The GrandCare system works best if there is a relative or caregiver who will be available to monitor and interact with the person being monitored.  It is especially useful for families that are concerned about an elderly diabetic, for example, who may be having difficulty tracking their blood glucose levels and eating at the proper times.

Whichever technology you decide to use, it is reassuring to know that it could help you stay in your home rather than being pressured to move into a nursing home sooner than is absolutely necessary.  Today, we are so fortunate to have these types of technology available in our own homes to provide us with the type of assistance we need, when and where we need it.

Currently, Medicaid may help patients pay for some of these devices, if they determine that they are medically necessary.  Medicare does not cover any of these items, at this time.

Reference:  "Is This the End of The Nursing Home?" AARP Bulletin, March 2014, pg. 20.

If you are looking for additional helpful information for retirees, use the tabs or the pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GreatCall 5 Star Medical Alert Device

As we age, there are many reasons why it could be a smart move to get some type of medical alert device.  In the past, most of these devices only worked in or near your home.  Even then, they were often a life-saver, especially if someone fell and became injured when they were home alone.

Today, however, the technology has improved and it is possible to get a very affordable GPS device that you can have with you wherever you go ... at home, in the grocery store, while visiting friends and relatives, or even while taking a quiet stroll by yourself in the park. The advantages of one of these GPS medical alert devices are tremendous. 

While I am sure that other companies may now be selling these new medical alert devices, one of my friends, a very active woman in her early 70's, told me about this one that can be ordered online from Amazon.  The price is very affordable and in line with the devices that only work in your home:

The device she told me about is the GreatCall 5Star Responder Wireless Personal Security Device.  It costs about $40, plus a small monthly service fee of about $15 a month.  There are no contracts or cancellation fees.

If you push the button on your GPS activated device, you will be connected to a live 5 Star Agent.  They are available 24 hours a day and are prepared to help you deal with a variety of security issues, including contacting the police or medical personnel, as needed.   The people who respond to your alert are trained responders who can use the GPS feature on your device to locate you, which is especially important if you are not sure of the address or cross streets where you are located.

In a true emergency situation, you can hold the call button down for 5 seconds and you will be connected directly to 9-1-1.

The 5-Star responders can also connect you with people on your personal emergency list, such as a neighbor, a relative or your doctor's office.  They also have nurses available on their own staff who are trained to help you determine if you are experiencing a serious medical event, such as a heart attack.

The device is small and can easily be attached to your clothing, belt, purse or keychain, so you always have it nearby.

If you live alone or you have a parent or other relative who spends a lot of time alone, this device, or one like it, could literally save a life. 

More information:

GreatCall 5Star Responder Wireless Personal Security Device

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