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The iPad – An Eye Opener for Older Eyes

By Blog, Technology No Comments


“To this technology-ninny it’s clear

In my compromised 100th year,
That to read and to write
Are again within sight
Of this Apple iPad pioneer”

– Virginia Campbell, 99
Mary’s Woods Retirement Community in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Ms. Campbell, still going strong and closing in on her 100th year, has glaucoma making it difficult for her to read … until her daughter gave her an iPad!

Afterall this is the year of the tablet, and many seniors see better with tablets’ adjustable type size. Reading becomes easier again. Recent research based on tests conducted with 66 adults age 50 and over has shown that older people read faster when using an iPad, compared to a newspaper with the same 10-point font size .

When the font was increased to 18 points — easy to do on an iPad — reading speed increased to 137 words per minute.

What makes the real difference is the illuminated screen of tablets, which heightens contrast between words and the background. As we age, this contrast sensitivity decreases making it a struggle to read fine print.

There are other eye conditions that come with age, of course, like macular degeneration which prevents people from reading and staying connected to our world of ideas and imagination.

Not all older adults are like Virginia Campbell, sadly. They find digital technology baffling and simply do not feel comfortable using it. For them, a tablet may sit on a shelf and get little if any use.

Other caregivers, like Ms. Campbell’s daughter, are luckier and must be delighted with their charges’ response to this new technology.
It makes their job far easier!

LifeCall Medical Alert

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.


CCRCs without walls. Aging in Place.

By Aging in Place, Blog, Continuing Care No Comments

The Best of Both Worlds Thinking about moving to a so-called CCRC, or continuing-care retirement community? Perhaps you could stay in your home — and have the community come to you. Continuing care at home is one of several promising new models of healthy living services for older adults that brings the experience and resources of aging services providers into private homes. How do you qualify? To join older people have to be healthy and functioning at a high level independently. These programs exclude people with immediate health needs, including any indicator of dementia.

“Let us bring what you need to you or find a way to make it easy for you to get it.”

How much do they cost? In a continuing care program without walls, members pay an entry fee (anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000) and monthly fees ($250 to $800) and receive a guarantee of lifelong care, with a twist. The main focus of these programs is helping people stay healthy and independent in their homes for as long as possible. Tiered plans with varying levels of benefits are common. The most expensive cover services 100 percen. Other plans can require a co-payment of up to 30 percent for assisted living or nursing home care. All members are required to have health insurance, whether from a private employer or Medicare with supplemental coverage included. If someone has long-term care insurance, rates are discounted. Most programs cover the full cost of any in-home care that’s needed (home health care nurses or companions who help older people bathe and dress), as well more intensive long-term services (rehabilitation, assisted living or nursing home care) at no extra cost and with no waiting period. Only a dozen C.C.R.C.  programs exist across the country, mostly east of the Mississippi. But several more are under development, and experts believe the concept may be poised to expand more broadly in the years ahead. Our Latest List of  CCRCs: Kendal At Home (Westlake, OH); Cadbury Continuing Care At Home (Cherry Hill, N.J.); Alexian Live at Home Program (Chattanooga, TN); Seabury at Home (Bloomfield, CT); Via Christi Care At Home (Wichita, KS); Longwood at Home (Oakmont, PA); Friends Life Care at Home (Blue Bell, PA); Avenue by Porter Hills (Grand Rapids, MI); Life Choices, sponsored by Evangelical Homes of Michigan (Detroit); Senior Choice at Home, sponsored by the Jewish Home for the Elderly (Fairfield, CT); Senior Choice at Home by Gulf Coast Village (Cape Coral, FL); Fellowship Village Senior Living at Home (Basking Ridge, NJ); and Hunt at Home (Nashua, NH). Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

What Seniors May Not Know About Water

By Blog, Healthy Aging No Comments

You’ve probably heard this one before … you can live for days, weeks, and even months without food, but 2 to 3 days without water could kill you.

But at a certain age (over 65), daily hydration becomes a challenge as well as a matter of life and death.

Why? Because dehydration is common in seniors due to decreased feelings of thirst, medications and diseases that increase fluid needs, and decrease in overall food and beverage intake.

Dehydration can cause confusion, fatigue, hot or cold sensations, muscle cramping, headache, dry mouth, eyes and skin, constipation, dangerous changes to blood pressure, and abnormal blood chemistry (ex: blood sugar, electrolytes).

Dehydration left untreated requires medical attention and can be deadly. It can send you to the hospital in a hurry and into a coma.

How much fluid is this, exactly?
If you are 65 or older, your mission is to get in at least 8 glasses (1 glass=8 oz) of fluid every day.   If you have kidney or heart problems, please ask your doctor for specific amounts.

Remember that all liquid counts (milk, soup, coffee and tea) and some fruits and vegetables too.

Caregivers should make sure the older person has water by his or her side at all times.  Encourage frequent drinking in moderate amounts.

How to reach this goal?
Drink 1 glass with each meal and one in between meals to make sure you get enough.
Keep fluid in arm’s reach throughout the day and stash one in the car or your bag when you leave the house.

Worth Noting

  • Older people who get enough water tend to suffer less constipation, use less laxatives, have fewer falls and, for men, may have a lower risk of bladder cancer. Less constipation may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Drinking at least five 8-ounce glasses of water daily reduces the risk of fatal coronary heart disease among older adults.

The Science of Aging
Scientists warn that the ability to be aware of and respond to thirst is slowly blunted as we age.  As a result, older people do not feel thirst as readily as younger people do. This increases the chances of them consuming less water and consequently suffering dehydration.

Less body fluids, lower kidney function.
The body loses water as we age because of the loss of muscle mass  and a corresponding increase in fat cells.

In addition, the kidneys’ ability to remove toxins from the blood progressively declines with age. This means the kidneys are not as efficient in concentrating urine in less water, thus older people lose more water than younger ones.

Bottom Line
Drink lots of water!  The chances of your getting too much water are slim to none, so drink up!

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Spice up those neurons … with spices!

By Alternative Medicine, Blog No Comments

The elderly in India who consume turmeric in their curries daily have the world’s lowest rate of Alzheimer’s.

Scientists used to think that you were born with all the neurons you’d ever have.  Then in 1998 researchers discovered the birth of new neurons in individuals who were near death.  Turns out your brain – no matter how old or young – can generate new neurons.

One key to brain growth?  Diet.  What you eat helps generate healthy neurons with bushels of dendrites (nerve receptors).  It also keeps nerve endings firing and allows you to maintain brain flexibility.

Consider the …
Super Spice Turmeric

The National Institutes of Health lists 24 current studies on the effects of turmeric and its chief active component, curcumin.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice, a major ingredient in Indian curries, and the  source of American mustard’s bright yellow color.

So, will a little Indian curry help your brain?  Used as both medicine and food for centuries, accumulating evidence suggests that this relative of ginger is a promising preventive agent for a wide range of diseases, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory properties that fight some cancers and multiple sclerosis.  The chemical curcumin that makes turmeric yellow appears to activate a key antioxidizing enzyme that reduces plaque buildup.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation). Studies at the University of California found that in rats prone to accumulate beta-amyloid plaque in their brains – the abnormality associated with Alzheimer’s disease in humans – curcumin blocked the plaque’s accumulation. It also reduced inflammation related to Alzheimer’s disease in neural tissue and the rats fed curcumin performed better on memory tests than rats on normal diets.

Three More Spices that Boost Brain Power

Saffron fights depression in humans, as well as improving learning and memory in animals. Saffron twice daily was as effective as Prozac in treating mild to moderate depression, according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Sage, the aptly named herb, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Chinese sage root contains compounds similar to Alzheimer’s disease drugs, and just 50 microliters (.001690 fl oz) of sage oil extract significantly enhanced memory, according to research in Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior.  Sage is a great addition to salads, in soups, even on pizza. It tastes and smells better fresh.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to man.  Its uses and benefits have been documented as early as 2700 B.C. throughout China, Europe and Egypt. Cinnamon offers anti-clotting and anti-microbial benefits, boosts brain function and contributes to a healthy colon. It may also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes

Read more about Cinnamon HERE.

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Alzheimer’s – Searching For A Breakthrough

By Alzheimer's Resources, Blog, Uncategorized No Comments

The statistics are astounding.  The demographics frightening.  The costs outrageous.

We are talking about Alzheimer’s, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.

Advancing Medical Research
As the leading funder of Alzheimer’s research, the federal government is supporting significant new research into the causes of Alzheimer’s and finding ways to delay, prevent, or treat the disease.

Behold The Simple Grape
The newest clinical trial funded by Washington features Resveratrol, found naturally in the skin of grapes. Research shows that resveratrol acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Resveratrol may provide certain health benefits, but research on the health effects of resveratrol in humans is somewhat limited.

Find Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Clinical Trials

Fighting Alzheimer’s
The 2011 National Alzheimer’s Project Act requires the development of a national plan to accelerate research toward treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s, and to improve care, services, and support to people with Alzheimer’s, families and caregivers.

Learn more about what Washington is doing to help those facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Progress In The Search For A Cure
The news on the Alzheimer’s clinical trials and research front seems to change on a monthly basis.  The latest progress concerns a team of researchers in Iceland who have discovered a genetic mutation that appears to prevent people from getting Alzheimer’s. This mutation slowed the production of a protein called beta amyloid in the brain.

This is an important finding, but it needs to be put in perspective.  The protective mutation is so rare that only one in ten thousand people carry it!

Alzheimer’s research is a dynamic field.  If you are interested in following this research, the Alzheimer’s Association offers one of the most comprehensive websites. Click below:

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Why Private Duty Home Care Is Affordable

By Blog, Healthcare Providers, Home Care Agencies No Comments

Who Provides Home Care?
Big Differences and Why They Matter

There are different and varying models for home care services – the Private Duty/Home Care Agency, the Home Care Registry/Referral Agency, and the Privately Hired Caregiver.

The Home Care Agency
Home care services are best when provided through an agency that employs, trains, bonds and insures, and background checks its caregivers.

Private duty home care agencies are companies that provide home care aides, companion care, homemaker services and may provide nursing services in the client’s home. “Private duty” means private pay.  In other words, no government monies are used for the cost of care. The most common methods for covering the cost of private duty home care is through long term care insurance benefits, out of pocket, or other types of savings arrangement

The Home Care Registry
On the other hand, a home care registry is an organization that helps you locate a caregiver and places one in your home on an independent contractor basis.  Registries do not employ caregivers, nor do they take responsibility for their training and supervision.

A private caregiver or an independent contractor with a home care registry may be highly compassionate, lower in cost, and an overall good fit with the client, but remember you will be liable for the payroll taxes and possible work related injuries of the caregiver.

Hiring a caregiver who is not continuously trained by an agency that employs him or her creates a situation where you don’t know if the caregiver has the skills to perform the needed tasks.

If your family cannot assume the full range of responsibilities, you would be better off working through an agency.  If the family chooses to hire privately, you need to consult a lawyer and an accountant to assure that they make proper arrangements for all of their obligations.

An Affordable Option
When compared to the costs associated with a retirement community, private duty home care is a cost effective option. The average annual cost of one nursing home resident is $69,715. The average annual cost of one assisted living facility resident is $36,372.

Seniors who want to remain in their homes can often do so with a few hours of care a week. For example, 20 hours of companionship home care a week costs approximately $1,500 a month or an average annual cost of $18,000.

Long-term care insurance will reimburse you for whatever home care you choose, and of course you want your benefits to last as long as possible.

To find an agency in your area turn to the National Private Duty Association (NPDA), the nation’s leading association for providers of private duty home care. They have a searchable database to provide consumers with a comprehensive list of NPDA members nationwide.

Click Below To Locate The NPDA Member Agencies In Your Area

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Aging In Place

By Aging in Place, Blog No Comments

What is “aging in place”?  Simply, it describes a cultural shift in which older people are choosing to stay at home, rather than live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

The National Association of Home Builders describes the term as:  Remaining in one’s home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.

It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives.  It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a “home” for a lifetime.

It Could Be Cheaper To Stay At Home
The average annual cost of nursing home care in 2011 was $86,040.  Hiring in-home assistance is cheaper—but still not ideal—with annual fees averaging $38,000.  But is it possible for seniors to maintain independence without completely surrendering themselves to someone else’s care?  Yes.  It just takes some determination and room-by-room modifications.

Solutions can be simple, no-cost or low cost changes to make your home more livable. Solutions can also involve larger-scale modifications such as structural changes.

Some low cost home improvements:

Enhance natural lighting
Improve lighting in bathrooms, hallways and staircases
Install lever handles on doors and faucets
Install handrails on both sides of the staircase
Use non-slip strips in the shower or tub

An Aging in Place Plan Is Not Just For Old People
Americans of all ages value their ability to live independently.  But without a plan for aging in place, it can be hard to stay in control of your life.  Knowing your health risks and financial options can make a big difference in your ability to stay in a familiar place.

For a complete list of home assessment tips, changes related to aging, safety tips, pointers on hiring help, and much more, click below:

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Falls by Elderly, Perilous But Preventable

By Blog, Elderly Fall Prevention No Comments

Fall Prevention Tips

Who would have thought that popping a pill could help prevent falls in the elderly? According to a new report on fall prevention, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, vitamin D may help adults age 65 and older stay steady and upright.

Falls are the leading cause of injury in adults 65 and older, and preventing them is much more effective than treating them.  Thirty percent to 40 percent of the elderly fall at least once a year; many who had been living independently never regain their previous functioning, ending up in assisted living and nursing homes.

According to, older individuals have higher instances of vitamin D deficiencies.  This deficiency is often caused by poor diet, bad absorption of the vitamin in their intestines, not receiving enough sun light and liver or kidney diseases that affect the metabolism of vitamin D metabolism.  Many people are not aware that they have a vitamin D deficiency.  Doctors can check the level of vitamin D in your body through a blood test.

Taking vitamin D supplements daily is one of three major recommendations on fall prevention recently issued by the United States Preventive Services Task Force.

The task force is the first major medical group to recommend vitamin D supplements for those who live at home (not in assisted living or nursing homes) and are at higher-than-normal risk of falling — that is, those over age 65 who have already fallen or who have had limitations in mobility within the last year.

The task force’s last recommendation for fall prevention involves exercise.  Appropriate exercise should be any balance, strengthening and aerobic moves the patient likes enough to actually do regularly.

Hazards Around The House

The task force did not address home-grown pitfalls, so here are the prime places to start on your own:

  • Stairs  – obviously the most likely place to experience serious falls. Put up railings on both sides. Replace worn carpet, as it can be slippery. Install lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs. Mark the top and bottom steps clearly with a different color of carpeting (tape tends to need replacing too often).
  • Bathrooms – clearly the next big fall zone.  Secure grab bars (not the suction-cup variety) into the walls at varying easy-to-grab angles in addition to vertically and horizontally. Place them not only where you enter the tub or shower but also in a second midway spot — for example, where the built-in soap holder usually is, and by the toilet.
  • Good lighting –  an easy and inexpensive safety improvement throughout the home.
  • Getting rid of clutter – a  critical but not so easy safety measure, especially if you are a hoarder!
  • Pets and their paraphernalia – when our furry friends can also pose a hazard.

The Use It or Lose It Category
Confidence is important to fall prevention.  Fear itself in this case can lead older people to cut back on activities they used to enjoy. The less they do, sadly, the less they eventually are able to do.

For the first time since 2001, the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatrics Society have updated their guidelines for preventing falls in older people. The update includes two notable changes:  One recommends tai chi as an effective way to prevent falls, while another suggests that doctors review medication use by all elderly patients, with an eye toward reducing use of those drugs that increase the risk of falling.

Click HERE for their recommendations in PDF form.

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

For Healthcare Providers – LifeCall’s New Affinity Program

By Affiliate Marketing, Blog, Healthcare Providers No Comments

Partner With LifeCall and Boost Your Bottom Line

LifeCall is pleased to announce its new Affinity Program, providing healthcare providers with an income-generating resource for developing and maintaining their customer base. Now enhance relationships with your existing customers by helping them remain safe and live independently in their homes.

The Affinity Program does not require any financial investment, and is completely administered by LifeCall. Merchandising, customer enrollment, shipping, handling, and billing are all managed by us. Revenue sharing begins when your customer subscribes to our monthly monitoring service, and is paid to you every 30 days for the duration of the program.

The Affinity Partnership Program is an excellent vehicle for building loyalty, retaining customers seeking medical alert services, and attracting new prospects.

The LifeCall Affinity Partnership Program at-a-glance:

  • Provide customers with a Personal Emergency Response System that connects to a certified Emergency Medical Technician – not just an operator – trained to manage medical emergencies.
  • UL-listed Emergency Response Center.
  • Enhance relationships with existing customers by helping them remain safe and live independently in their homes.
  • Generate monthly revenue without any financial investment.
  • Customized brochures with your name.
  • No setup or upfront fees.
  • No equipment to buy.
  • No long-term contracts to sign.
  • No hidden costs.
  • Complete partner indemnification.
  • Fulfillment, shipping and handling, and billing all administered by LifeCall.

To learn more about the program and to enroll, click HERE.

Download the LifeCall Affinity Program BROCHURE.

Trust LifeCall For Peace of Mind You Can Count On
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Tips for Adult Children Caring For Aging Parents

By Blog, Caregivers No Comments

Caring for an aging parent can be a daily juggle.  It is estimated that up to 7 million people in the United States help care for an older relative long distance. If you are the designated caregiver in your family and you live more than an hour away from the relative who needs help, Consumers Union suggests these ways of preparing for the next crisis.

Maintain a care notebook
Keep a file of your parents’ medical records, including test results, current medication, allergies, insurance coverage and Social Security numbers, along with their physicians’ contact information. Collect e-mail addresses and phone numbers for neighbors and close friends, as well as the phone number for the nearest hospital.

Develop a relationship with your parents’ doctors
If possible, schedule your parents’ appointments while you’re visiting. To avoid future frustration, ask your parents to sign privacy releases giving your doctors authorization to speak with you by phone regarding their care.

Find a local senior or geriatric care manager
These professionals are usually trained in gerontology, social work, nursing or psychology, and can identify problems and help provide solutions that you might not be aware of. They can also screen, place and monitor in-home help, and arrange for short- or long-term assistance for long-distance caregivers.

Set up an Medical Alert System
If your parent lives alone, talk with him or her about an electronic alert system for emergencies such as LifeCall. These systems, typically lightweight devices worn around the neck or wrist, require only a push of a button to generate an automatic call to summon emergency help. You might also want to arrange a daily check-in call or e-mail message.

Don’t go it alone
If you have siblings, try to split doctors’ visits, financial costs and other responsibilities with them as much as possible. Make a list of family members, friends and neighbors who are willing to help with transportation and home visits. Check into senior day care or recreational programs available through local governments or nonprofit groups. Also investigate the availability of meal-delivery programs and transportation services.

Additional resources


Contact LifeCall Medical Alert System, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.