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Reducing the Risk of Falling

By | Aging in Place, Blog, Elderly Fall Prevention, fall detection, FallAlert, FallAlert system

For seniors, falls in and around the home are the most frequently occurring accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every three adults over age 65 falls each year. Fall rates increase significantly as we advance in age. The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the number one reason why seniors lose their independence – because they are the leading cause of injury and even death among older adults.

Fall Prevention Infographic

CDC – Fall Prevention Infographic

A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the primary way that older Americans can delay or diminish the need to move to a long-term care facility is to prevent falls and the resulting injuries.[1] This is encouraging news because most falls are preventable if certain practical precautions are taken.

Reduce your fear of falling

Seniors often reduce their level of physical activity after a fall for fear of falling again. However, this can make the situation worse. Cutting back on exercise or physical activity leads to a loss of muscle strength, flexibility, balance and gait.

The first step is to reduce your fear of falling by engaging in activities that can help reduce the risk of falls. After consulting your doctor, consider resuming activities such as walking, water workouts, or even tai chi — an exercise that involves slow and graceful movements that resemble a kind of synchronized dance. Activities like these reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Research also suggests they may help lower blood pressure and improve heart function.

Preventing falls at home

By taking a few modest steps, many falls can be prevented.

1. Make your home safer

About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer:

  • Reduce tripping hazards – keep cords, papers, books, boxes, plants, shoes and clothes off of the stairs or away from places you walk.
  • Either remove throw rugs or use non-skid mats or double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping
  • Use non-slip mats or appliques on the shower floor or in the bathtub
  • Install grab bars in the shower or tub and next to the toilet
  • Install handrails and lights on both sides of staircases
  • Improve the lighting in your home. As you age you need brighter lights to see better. To reduce glare, hang light-weight curtains or shades
  • Keep the items you use most often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a stool or stepladder
  • Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.

2. Have your vision checked

Once a year have your eyes checked by your eye doctor. You may have developed cataracts or glaucoma or your glasses prescription may have changed. Poor vision increases your chances of falling.

3. Have your doctor review your medicines

Once a year you should have your doctor or pharmacist review the prescriptions and medicines you take, even over–the–counter medicines. As you age, the way medicines affect your body can change. In addition, some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can cause dizziness or drowsiness and cause you to fall.

4. Begin a regular exercise program

Finally, exercise is perhaps the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of falling. Exercise improves your balance and coordination, makes you stronger and helps you feel better. A lack of exercise leads to muscle weakness and an increased propensity for falls. Ask your doctor or health care provider what type of exercise program might be best for you.

If you do fall

LifeCall’s in-home health care monitoring solutions give you the ability to summon prompt assistance right at your fingertips. In the event of a fall you can get help quickly, which reduces medical complications that result from being immobile for prolonged periods of time. LifeCall will get you help in two ways.

The LifeCall Response Center is the only center where all operators are certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). It is powered by a world-class automation platform and two fail-safe redundant systems. The center also has been recognized by Computer World Magazine for its high-tech infrastructure provides fast access to highly trained, caring Response Associates at the push of a button, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Our new LifeCall with FallAlert* option also enables you to push the pendant-style button for help at any time. FallAlert provides additional protection by automatically placing a call for help if a fall is detected and you can’t push your button because you are disoriented, immobilized, or unconscious. This enhanced service option can provide even greater security and peace of mind.

*FallAlert works through sensors that detect a person’s sway, orientation and impact with surface. It does not detect 100% of falls. If you are able after a fall, you should always press the LifeCall button when you need help.


For 40 years LifeCall Medical Alert Systems have provided families with security and independence at their fingertips by offering instant access to EMT-trained emergency personnel around the clock at the push of a button. Falls and strokes are common among seniors – a personal emergency response system can save your life. LifeCall: the most important call you’ll ever make.


[1] Promoting a National Falls Prevention Action Plan, Research Review Papers, Stevens, Judy, Ph.D, “Falls Among Older Adults – Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies,” page 3.

How To Convince Your Parents To Get A Medical Alert System

By | Aging in Place, Blog | No Comments

Let’s face it. It’s not easy sometimes to convince your elderly parents that you’d like them to have a little added insurance and protection around the home.

A lot of adult children make the mistake of forcing their parents to get a medical alert system. This is probably the worst thing you can do!

Remember Grumpy Grandpa is a very strong, healthy and independent senior. He likes to stay active. He’s the kind of person who does everything by himself. He changes his own oil, loves to fish and even does chair yoga.

Instead of forcing the idea, here are a few tips that have worked for our customers.

  • Strategy 1: It’s not for you, it’s for me
    This is by far the best strategy . Just tell your parents that even though you know that they are healthy and probably would never use the system, you and your siblings would feel better knowing that mom and dad had a backup plan.
  • Strategy 2: Keep it simple
    Seniors hate things that are complicated. In fact, most of us will never read manuals or buy anything that isn’t easy to use.
    Although they don’t look as good as an iPhone or iPad, medical alert systems are just as easy to use and install. Tell your parents that all that’s required to install is to plug in a power cable and a phone cord. To call for help, all you have to do is push a button and an operator will come over the speakerphone.

Here are some things you should avoid:

1.   Scaring them
Those “fallen and can’t get up” commercials on TV get a little old. Images of seniors lying on the ground or injured aren’t very appealing. It’s probably not the best idea to use scare tactics on your parents or loved ones.

2.  Statistics
As you get older, your chances of falling increase. Everyone knows this, including your elderly parents. Don’t remind them. Fall statistics are usually the wrong way to go about trying to convince someone to buy a medical alert system.

3.  Sending brochures to their house or giving out their contact information – without them knowing.
Don’t upset people, so please tell your parents to expect that information is going to be sent to them before putting their names on any online information or free brochure request form.

So there’s our list of do’s and don’ts. Try these out and let us know how they worked for you and your family.

LifeCall Fall Alert Systems

Contact FallAlert 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. www.lifecall.com

5 Remote Monitoring Services for Caregivers

By | Blog, Personal Medical Alarms | No Comments

Senior care at home can be challenging, especially when adult children do not live nearby. Knowing how to care for an aging parent from a remote location reduces the stress for both you and your loved one. These five types of remote monitoring services can ensure the safety and well-being of an aging parent when you cannot be there yourself.

Medical Alert System Remote Monitoring Services

A medical alert system makes getting help as easy as pressing a button. There are two types of medical alert systems used in home care for seniors: monitored and unmonitored. Both consist of a device worn around the neck or wrist, or pinned to clothing. The individual presses a button that places a call to a predetermined telephone number. In monitored systems, the call goes to a live operator who can then talk with the subscriber. In an unmonitored system, the call plays a pre-recorded message to the recipient.

Choose  LifeCall for Around The Clock Peace of Mind
The simplicity and completeness of LifeCall‘s emergency monitoring program means you will receive experienced, professional help from certified Emergency Medical Technicians when you need it. The heart of this Bosch system is the LifeCall console itself, which is designed for tabletop use and is ideal for bedside placement.

LifeCall has more than 35 years of experience in life safety and security systems. It is 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.

CarrierAlert

The U.S. Postal Service keeps a watchful eye on customers registered in the Carrier Alert program. Since its introduction in 1982, Carrier Alert has helped thousands of citizens get help and, in some cases, can even saves lives.

In this program, letter carriers notify supervisors when mail accumulates in the mailbox of a Carrier Alert participant. Supervisors then attempt to contact the individual by telephone, through the registering agency, or through police intervention.

FREE Daily Check-in Phone Calls

There is no substitute for the sound of the human voice, especially for someone struggling with the social isolation associated with being homebound. CareSolver recommends Always in Touch, a free program that telephones clients on a regular basis.

Medical ID Bracelet

A medical ID bracelet speaks volumes for those who unable to communicate for themselves. If someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia wanders from home, caregivers can call a 24-hour response line to activate a community support network to locate the individual. Anyone discovering the individual may call the number on the bracelet to reunite him with his family. Medical ID jewelry is personalized with his pertinent information, such as allergies and medical conditions.

Check-In Point Person

Enlist the help of others in your elderly parent care. Ask someone to be the official check-in point person, or the “go-to guy” when things go wrong. The check-in point person should live in your loved one’s neighborhood so he can provide immediate assistance in case of emergency.

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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. www.lifecall.com

How to remember like an elephant!

By | Blog, Memory | No Comments

No Senior Moments Here

I don’t know about you, but it takes me longer to remember things than it used to!

Is there a way to improve recall?

It’s normal for your memory to slow down a bit as you age. There are neural pathways that connect the part of your brain where memories are stored (the hippocampus) with the part where you’re consciously thinking (the prefrontal cortex). As you age, those pathways naturally get a little bumpier and harder to travel, meaning it can take a little longer to call up a specific fact or name.

Your Mind Thinks in Pictures

Evolution has created a human brain that is amazingly effective in dealing with sensory data. Among the human senses, sight is the most sophisticated and developed of all.  Hence, our brains have become extremely effective in storing and processing images.

Images are your mind’s vocabulary, the building blocks of its language.

The Memory Palace Technique

The same strategies that Cicero used to memorize his speeches, medieval scholars used to memorize entire books. These memory pioneers figured out that the brain is more likely to retain visual or spatial information, so if you want to remember something your best strategy is to transform it into something else so colorful, exciting and different that you can’t possibly forget it.

Connect hard-to-remember facts with some familiar space
One trick, known as the  “memory palace,” is to conjure up a familiar space in the mind’s eye, and then populate it with images of whatever it is you want to remember.

Memory palaces don’t necessarily have to be buildings. They can be routes through a town or station stops along a railway. They can be real or imaginary, as long as there’s some semblance of order that links one place to the next (front steps, door, foyer, etc.), and are intimately familiar.

For the technique to work, the most important thing is to have the place or route 100% imprinted on your mind.

How To Memorize Your Grocery List

Think of a very familiar place, such as your home. Associate each sight you see with an item you want to remember (oranges on the window-sill, milk on the top shelf in the fridge, bread next to the toaster).  This memory palace technique works because you can connect new things to old, well-worn paths in your brain, taking advantage of old memories to create stronger new ones.

What I like about the Memory Palace is that it’s not only extremely effective, but also quite fun to learn and use. Years ago my father had another fun technique for remembering people’s names. Identify their faces with an animal. Unless you call someone a skunk … I guess this could work  because he told me about it 🙂

LifeCall Medical Alert Systems

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. www.lifecall.com

 

 

 

 

 

Betting On Longevity

By | Blog, Genetics | No Comments

How old is old?

A new U.S. Census report suggests that 90-plus is a better definition of the “oldest old” instead of the now common definition of 85-plus. That’s because this segment of the population is exploding.

From 1980 to 2010, the number of Americans 90 and over almost tripled to 1.9 million. It’s projected to more than quadruple by 2050, compared to a doubling of the population aged 65 to 89.

The New York Times explores what it takes to reach these ripe old ages, who ages well and why,  and the science of aging.
The articles are online at nytimes.com/aging.

Here are summaries of some of the articles:

1) Old but Not Frail: A Matter of Heart and Head

It is one of the persistent mysteries of aging. Why would one person remain so hale and hearty while another, who had seemed just as healthy, start to weaken and slow down, sometimes as early as his 70’s?

Now scientists are surprised to find that, in many cases, a single factor — undetected cardiovascular disease — is often a major reason people become frail.

A second finding is just as surprising. Rigorous studies are now showing that seeing, or hearing, gloomy predictions about what it is like to be old can make people walk more  slowly, hear and remember less well, and even affect their cardiovascular systems. Positive images of aging have the opposite effects.

The constant message that old people are expected to be slow and weak and forgetful is not a reason for the full-blown frailty syndrome. But it may help push people along that path.

Overcoming Stereotypes
It turns out that people who have more positive views about aging are healthier over time, according to a Ohio study.  They lived an average of 7.6 years longer than those of a similar age who did not hold such views, and even had less hearing loss when their hearing was tested three years after the study began. The result persisted when the investigators took in account the participants’ health at the start of the study, as well as their age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Read more

2) Live Long? Die Young? Answer Isn’t Just in Genes.

Recent studies find that genes may not be that important in determining how long someone will live and whether a person will get some diseases. That means it is generally impossible to predict how long a person will live based on how long the person’s relatives lived.

Life spans are not a trait like height, which is strongly inherited.

Among the chronic diseases of the elderly, Parkinson’s and heart disease have no detectable hereditary component, studies repeatedly find.

A strong family history of even a genetically linked disease does not guarantee a person will get it, and having no family history does not mean a person is protected. Instead, chronic diseases strike almost at random among the elderly, making it perhaps not so surprising that life spans themselves have such a weak genetic link.

Read More

The Genetics of Aging
The Genetics of Aging – VIDEO
Scientists are trying to determine whether genes can account for the exceptional health and longevity of 92-year-old twin Josephine Tesauro.

 

 

 

 

 

LifeCall Fall Alert Systems

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. www.lifecall.com

New Research – Poor Sleep Causes Memory Loss

By | Alternative Medicine, Anti-Aging, Blog, Healthy Aging | No Comments

Faithful followers of this blog know that we are a medical alert company focusing on helping the elderly stay in their own homes … and our blog is all about the surprising Good News  these days enveloping the fastest growing population on earth! We focus on simple and tested health ideas you can use,  breaking research in neuroscience and anti-aging, uplifting stories to learn from, new aging-in-place technologies for the home, and much more. What follows is information on another ordinary activity (like drinking lots of water in a previous article) with extraordinary implications! It’s called A Good Night’s Sleep. The regenerative body process called sleep or lack thereof is linked to a number of chronic diseases, including obesity and depression. Now a new study has found a connection between poor sleep and memory storage. It boils down to a difference in the quality of sleep we get as we grow older. This was demonstrated in a recent UC Berkeley study conducted on 33 healthy adults without memory problems (18 participants were mostly in their 20s and 15 were in their 60s and 70s). The group learned 120 word pairs and were asked to recall them for researchers 10 minutes later, then again in the morning after a night’s rest. Brain activity scans of the participants found that the older adults’ quality of sleep was 75 percent lower than the younger group, and that their memory of the word pairs was 55 percent worse the next day. There are a number of ways to improve your sleep quality:

  • Check with your doctor to get treatment. By treating your medical condition, you can improve your quality of sleep dramatically.
  • Unplug. Put away your phones, tablets, laptops and other electrical devices an hour before going to bed. The blue light emitted by these devices interferes with melatonin production, and sends your body the message that it’s daytime, perking you up just as you should be winding down.
  • Exercise. Regular physical activity can improve the quality of your sleep, helping you sleep deeper and faster.

LifeCall Medical Alert SystemsContact 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. www.lifecall.com

The iPad – An Eye Opener for Older Eyes

By | Blog, Technology | No Comments

ipad


“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. www.lifecall.com

 

The Quest for Immortality

By | Anti-Aging | No Comments

How to live longer?
It really IS 10% genes, the rest LIFESTYLE!

Recently CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta and world-renowned anti-aging experts discussed practical steps for living longer, and cutting-edge research that could dramatically extend human life.

Here’s their entire webcast:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/30/live.longer.webcast/index.html

Some of the highlights

  • Regenerative medicine could dramatically increase the life span of humans
  • Cutting out red meat and taking steps to reduce stress can help extend your life

One guru interviewed was author Dan Buettner who has carried out extensive studies to identify longevity hotspots around the world, documented in his book  The Blue Zones.

He identified 4 places where people live longest – Costa Rica, Sardinia in Italy, and Ikaria in Greece. What do these residents all have in common?  Answer: Diets low in meat, and lifestyles that meant more exercise.

Many Americans exercise too hard, says Buettner …
“The life expectancy of our species, for 99.9% of human history, was about 30 years. The fact that medicine has pushed life expectancy to age 78 doesn’t mean our bodies were designed for three-quarters of a century of pounding.

The world’s longest-lived people tend to do regular, low intensity physical activity, like walking with friends, gardening and playing with their children. The key is to do something light every day.”

The second anti-aging expert was Geneticist and Futurist Aubrey de Grey, the Chief Scientific Officer of SENS Foundation, which researches and promotes regenerative medicine.  He said that techniques such as stem cell therapy, gene therapy and tissue engineering could one day be used in combination to let humans live for hundreds of years.

“We can take people who are already middle aged, or perhaps older, and turn them back to having a lower biological age.”

Small Lifestyle Changes
Mr. Buettner notes that stress can have a huge negative impact on long-term health. Praying, meditating or even simply taking a nap can all act as effective stress busters, thereby protecting the body.

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. www.lifecall.com

A Golden Age for the Brain

By | Aging Brain | No Comments

What do we really know
… about the human brain?

When Albert Einstein died in 1955 at the age of seventy- six, there was tremendous curiosity about the most famous brain of the twentieth century. An autopsy was performed on Einstein’s brain. Defying expectations that big thoughts required a big brain, Einstein’s brain actually weighed 10 percent less than the average brain!

Major breakthroughs in neuroscience are all pointing in the same direction. The human brain can do far more than anyone ever thought. Contrary to outworn beliefs, its limitations are imposed by us, not by its physical shortcomings

One of the unique things about the human brain is that it can do only what it thinks it can do.

The minute you say, “My memory isn’t what it used to be” or “I can’t remember a thing today,” you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations. Low expectations mean low results.

What if you could teach your brain to be unlimited?

In their new book Super Brain, mind/body guru Deepak Chopra and Harvard Medical School professor Rudolph E. Tanzi define the “super brain” and how to use your brain as a gateway for achieving health, happiness, and spiritual growth.

Great quote from the book ~

“Every day you step into the invisible firestorm of electrical and chemical activity that is the brain’s environment. You act as leader, inventor, teacher, and user of your brain, all at once.
As leader, you hand out the day’s orders to your brain.
As inventor, you create new pathways and connections inside your brain that didn’t exist yesterday.
As teacher, you train your brain to learn new skills.
As user, you are responsible for keeping your brain in good working order.”

… and some surprising concepts gleaned from the book:

  • Alzheimers can be reversed (depending on how advanced it is when the victim begins trying).
  • Music lessons, exercise, other repetitive physical activity benefit the brain
  • Keeping busy and interested in life is essential to brain health
  • Why keeping a pet can save your life
  • The many benefits of cultivating your memory
  • Indulging your passion increases brain power

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. www.lifecall.com

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. www.lifecall.com