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Aging in Place and Choosing Care When Needed: A Resource List

Aging in Place and Choosing Care When Needed: A Resource List

by Michelle Seitzer, SeniorsforLiving.com

Who doesn’t want to age in place? Only about 10 percent of seniors, according to AARP research, which states that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay home as they age. This overwhelming majority is not just indicative of what the healthy and independent want; the AARP survey also says that 82 percent of seniors would like to stay home even if they needed ongoing health care or daily assistance.

Anyone who is caring for or concerned about a senior relative is probably not surprised by these numbers. However, aging in place isn’t always as easy, or safe, as it sounds. Arguments may erupt when a caregiver’s concerns about safety conflict with the senior’s desire for independence. The good news? There are options.

Consider these suggestions that allow for aging in place as long as possible:

  1. Set up the home for success. Remove clutter (that includes loose rugs and carpets that pose  a serious trip-and-fall risk) and streamline the rooms that are used most often. Move furniture if you have to, and find ways to minimize the need to use the stairs. Home modifications range from simple to complex. While those on the complex end may be expensive, the monthly cost of assisted living care is often greater in the long run. Learn more about how to modify your home using the latest aging in place techniques.
  2. Communicate and check-in often. Ask the individual how things are going — not in a nagging way, or in too general a way. Specific questions like “what did you have for dinner last night?” or “how much mail did you get?” gives more insight into how successfully your loved one is managing basic daily tasks, rather than simply asking, “How are you?” Use Skype, FaceTime, and other easy-to-use tech tools as a way of “seeing” the individual (and their environment) when checking in. Learn more about useful technology can make caregiving easier.
  3. Get help. Bring in home care, hire a housekeeper, delegate tasks to family members and friends, coordinate visits from volunteers. These are a few ways to extend the amount of time that your loved one can stay home safely and successfully, and give you as the caregiver the peace of mind you need.

When the care needs are too great, when the individual cannot manage safely alone, or when loneliness and isolation become an issue, consult these resources for choosing the best setting or services for the person in your care:

  1. Plan for the kind of care he or she wants. Refer to this Elder Care Planning Resource Guide to choose the best option for your family’s budget and care preferences.
  2. Tour the senior living community/evaluate the home care agency. Once you have settled on assisted living, independent living, or home care, make a list of your top three choices. Schedule appointments to tour the facilities in person, or call the home care provider to ask questions. Ask trusted relatives, friends or healthcare providers for their recommendations. Get senior living touring tips and a list of questions to ask when evaluating assisted living communities.

 

Michelle Seitzer spent 10 years filling various roles at assisted living communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland, then worked as a public policy coordinator for the PA Alzheimer’s Association before settling down as a full-time freelance writer. Seitzer also served as a long-distance caregiver for her beloved grandfather, who died of complications from Alzheimer’s in 2009. She has blogged for SeniorsforLiving.com, which provides information on assisted living, home care, and Alzheimer’s care, since November 2008, and is the co-moderator of the first #ElderCareChat on Twitter, held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. EST. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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The Day in the Life of a MobileHelp Customer…

The Day in the Life of a MobileHelp Customer…

You wake up in the morning wearing your waterproof help button.  In your home, you have installed the base station in your kitchen/family room area and you have your mobile device sitting in the cradle charger on your bedroom night stand.  You are confident knowing that you are prepared for the unexpected.  Confident that if an emergency were to occur you would get help quickly, changing the outcome of what could be a bad situation, allowing you to continue to live an independent life style.

You go to the kitchen to make breakfast.  You’re not sure how it happened, but you slipped on the rug by the kitchen sink.  The pain is unbearable.  You pressed the waterproof help button you are wearing and it sent a signal to your base station which is connected to your home phone line and it sent a signal to your mobile device which is connected to the AT&T cellular network.  The base station and mobile device both sent an alarm to the monitoring center and the emergency operator opened two way communications on the base station and/or mobile device and asks if you need help.  If you need help, they will dispatch help accordingly.  If you are unable to speak, they will assume you are in need of help and dispatch EMS to your home.

The good news, the scene described above didn’t happen to you.

After breakfast you decide to take your morning walk.  You put on your walking shoes and you clip your mobile device to your pants.  As you walk through a nature preserve you suddenly feel dizzy. You fall down to your knees and press the help button before you lose consciousness.  By pressing the help button, it activates the mobile device clipped to your pants.  It sent an alarm to the monitoring center emergency operator who opened a two-way communication with you over the mobile device. They ask if you need help but got no response.  The emergency operator then contacts EMS and provides them with all your account information and your current GPS location.  When EMS arrives they don’t see you right away. They tell the emergency operator they cannot see you and she activates your mobile device to send an audible alarm.  EMS hears the alarm and locates you where you fell out of sight behind the bushes.  You are lucky; you were located quickly and received medical attention.  Because the emergency operator informed responders about your diabetes they recognize your problem right away and administer treatment. Your blood sugar is stabilized and you are able to continue living independently.

The good news again, the scene described above didn’t happen to you.

After your walk you come back home, you put your mobile device back in the cradle charger and jump into the shower.  You had recently cleaned the shower and removed the shower mat but think to yourself, I’ll be careful.  As you begin to shower the shampoo and residue from the cleaner you used made the shower floor slippery and you fall, causing a gash on your head.  You’re lying on the shower floor, feeling disoriented and bleeding.  You press the waterproof help button you are wearing.  The signal is sent to your base station and mobile device, the monitoring center emergency operator first connects with your base station in your kitchen/family room but gets no response so they immediately connect to your mobile device which is on your night stand just outside your bathroom.  You hear the operator and tell them you fell. They dispatch EMS to your home.  A quick trip to the ER, a couple of stitches later you are on your way home, a little bruised but no worse for the wear.

The good news continues, the scene described above didn’t happen to you.

You finish your shower and plan on meeting some friends for lunch.  So you grab your mobile device, clip it to your purse, get in the car, put your purse in the passenger’s seat and drive to the luncheon.   You hit some traffic and you’re running late.  You get to the parking lot, get out of the car and rush to meet your friends inside, then you remember you forgot your purse in the passenger’s seat.  You walk back to the passenger’s side of the car and trip over the curb falling between two cars.  It’s a bad fall, you believe you broke your hip, you’re unable to get up, you’re lying between two cars, no one can see you, and your purse is in the car with your mobile device and your cell phone.  You press the waterproof button you are wearing and it activates the mobile device in your purse which is in your car.  The mobile device sends an alarm to the monitoring center emergency operator who opens two-way communication with the mobile device. They ask if you need help but got no response.  The emergency operator then contacts EMS and provides them with all your account information and your current GPS location.  They know the color, make and model of your car as you provided that to us when you set up your account.  EMS locates your car and finds you lying on the ground between two cars.  They transport you to the ER and provide you with the help you need.

The good news, the scene described above didn’t happen… didn’t happen to you.

However, the scenes described above did happen to others.

The good news, these are MobileHelp customers, and with the simple press of their waterproof help button, they were able to send signals from multiple systems while at home, even when they were in the shower, and they were able to send a signal from the mobile device when they were away from home, even when the mobile device was out of reach.  Bottom line, these customers were able to change the outcome of a bad situation.

MobileHelp is about being prepared for the unexpected emergency.  It’s about confidence and maintaining the independent lifestyle we all want for as long as we can.  .

A mobile medical alert system like MobileHelp (www.MobileHelpNow.com) allows us to stay safe in our own homes and beyond.  It provides greater independence for seniors (and everyone else!) and keeps us vital and active. Moments matter.  Getting help quickly in an emergency can mean the difference between quick medical attention and complete recovery, or taking too long to get medical attention with tragic results.

MobileHelp utilizes cellular and GPS technology when you are away from the home to provide you assistance nationwide. If you or a loved one wants to be prepared for an unexpected emergency in the home and away from the home, give MobileHelp a try. MobileHelp www.MobileHelpNow.com offers a 30 day risk free trial so you have nothing to lose and independence to maintain.

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Medical Alert System and Home Phone Lines

Traditional medical alert systems require a home phone line to send your emergency request to a central station.   However, many people are abandoning their home phone line which is also known as a landline.

As quoted from CNN Money, http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/10/technology/att-verizon-landlines/index.htm; “It’s clear that landlines’ best days are behind them. Nearly 32% of American homes are now cell phone-only households — double the rate from 2008 and nearly triple that of 2007, according to a recent government study.”

Does this mean people who no longer have a home phone can’t have the protection and security a medical alert system provides?  The answer is a strong “NO.”

MobileHelp’s SOLO medical alert system is integrated with cellular and GPS technology  to protect you while you are in your home and no landline is required. This same system is small enough to conveniently clip to your belt or purse to extend your protection anywhere nationwide while you are away from home.

MobileHelp’s SOLO product is a medical alert system and not just a device.

What does it mean to be a system and not just a device?  A system means you can call for help by pressing the emergency button on the mobile device OR by pressing the waterproof help button you wear around your neck or on your wrist.  A device is something that can only be activated when you have it on your person, but how can you activate the device if you have it charging or while in the shower when you have an emergency?  The answer, you can’t.  This is why MobileHelp developed the SOLO system.

There is no age limit on the desire for safety and security.  We need not be self conscious about wanting to keep ourselves happy and healthy for as long as possible.  A mobile medical alert system like MobileHelp (www.MobileHelpNow.com) allows us to stay safe in our own homes and beyond.  It provides greater independence for seniors (and everyone else!) and keeps us vital and active. Moments matter.  Getting help quickly in an emergency can mean the difference between quick medical attention and complete recovery, or taking too long to get medical attention with tragic results.

Mobile Help utilizes cellular and GPS technology when you are away from the home to provide you assistance nationwide. If you or a loved one wants to be prepared for an unexpected emergency in the home and away from the home, give Mobile Help a try. MobileHelp www.MobileHelpNow.com offers a 30 day risk free trial so you have nothing to lose and independence to maintain.

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Not all Medical Alarm Systems are the same!

Not all Medical Alarm Systems are the same!

What’s in a name?  Some people call them Medical Alarm Systems, Medical Alert Systems, Emergency Alert System, Senior Alert System, Personal Emergency Response System, Mobile GPS Alert System, Urgent Response System and the list keeps growing.

Confused? You’re not alone.  The medical alarm industry is commonly known as the PERS industry.  PERS being defined as:  Personal Emergency Response System.  This industry has been around 30 plus years. As more and more companies enter this industry to provide this important service to customers it has become harder and harder to determine the differences between companies, systems and the service they offer.

What does this mean to a person who is interested in a Medical Alert System for themselves or for their loved one?  I believe it means you need to educate yourselves to ensure you select the best solution.

Questions you should ask yourself before purchasing:

- Do I need a solution that only protects me when I’m in my home?

-  Do I need a solution that protects me in my home and when I’m away from home?

  • Taking a walk
  • On a bike ride
  • Driving

-  Is the system I’m researching waterproof?

  • Bath
  • Shower

-  Is the product I’m investigating a system or a device and what’s the difference?

  • A device is a single piece of equipment, like a phone that may or may not be readily accessible at the time of an emergency.
    • Typically cannot wear in the shower or bathtub
    • Device is not accessible when charging
  • A medical alert system is activated by a waterproof pendant or help button that you discretely wear around your neck or on your wrist at all times.
    • You can send an alarm while in the shower or bathtub
    • You can send an alarm when the system is plugged in and/or charging
    • If you are away from home, you can activate your mobile device via the pendant even if the mobile device is out of reach
      • Purse
      • Golf Bag

Medical alert systems and mobile medical alert systems, also known as PERS, have been designed with the senior market in mind.  How you ask?  Here are some quick points:  waterproof/wearable pendants or help buttons that activate your home base station and/or GPS mobile device, dispatching help to your home or GPS location in the event you cannot communicate, ongoing GPS updates so your location remains current, “central stations” which meet UL certification standards, among others.

While there are many products in the market today, some companies try to be all things to all people, such as Great Call®’s 5Star ResponderTM.  5Star Responder is promoted as a device for young children who are separated from their parents, for women who are nervous walking alone or for seniors who don’t know if they should call 911.  While there is value in the first two scenarios, this is not a good alternative for a medical alert system.

While the price might be slightly lower don’t forget to read the fine print.  As an example, Great Call’s 5Star Responder states, “5Star is not a substitute for 911.  In the event of a critical emergency, always contact 911 immediately.”  While that might be a good suggestion for someone who just witnessed an accident, it’s not a good idea for someone who is having a medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke where they may not be able to speak.  After all, aren’t you looking for a medical alert system to handle medical emergencies?

In my opinion, this is why Great Call’s 5Star Responder goes on to say, “Not all mobile personal emergency response systems have the same features.  You should determine which features are important to you.”   This statement makes perfect sense.

Bottom line, when shopping for a medical alert system, do your homework.  Find a product, better yet, find a system that has been designed for seniors.  Ask yourself if you need a system that just works at home or a system that will protect you at home and away from home.

MobileHelp® has designed an integrated system where the base station and mobile device work together with the same wearable and water-proof help button.  While in the home, a press of your help button will activate the base station and mobile device utilizing your home phone line and cellular mobile device. When away from home your wearable help button will activate the GPS based cellular mobile device and sends your location to the UL listed central station.  The operator at the central station knows who you are, where you are and has access to the medical information you provided.  In the event you can’t speak help will be dispatched and loved-ones will be notified.

There is no age limit on the desire for safety and security.  We need not be self conscious about wanting to keep ourselves happy and healthy for as long as possible.  A mobile medical alert system like MobileHelp (www.MobileHelpNow.com) allows us to stay safe in our own homes and beyond.  It provides greater independence for seniors (and everyone else!) and keeps us vital and active. Moments matter.  Getting help quickly in an emergency can mean the difference between quick medical attention and complete recovery, or taking too long to get medical attention with tragic results.

MobileHelp utilizes cellular and GPS technology when you are away from the home to provide you assistance nationwide. If you or a loved one wants to be prepared for an unexpected emergency in the home and away from the home, give Mobile Help a try. MobileHelp www.MobileHelpNow.com offers a 30 day risk free trial so you have nothing to lose and independence to maintain.

 

5Star Urgent Response is a trademark and GreatCall is a registered trademark of GreatCall, Inc.  MobileHelp is a registered trademark of MobileHelp.

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No Age Limit on Emergencies

No Age Limit on Emergencies by Stephanie Martin – MobileHelp Support Specialist

We are active for much longer these days. With the improvements in modern medicine and increased elder care, people should be able to enjoy their lives to the fullest potential as long as they possibly can. Age is, after all, just a number.

I spoke to one customer, a 93 year old woman, who wanted to hurry her way through the activation process for her new MobileHelp (www.MobileHelpNow.com) medical alert system because she was late for her poker game. She told me that the only reason that she even got this “newfangled thing” was because her 70-year-old son talked her into it. She was, in her own eyes, much too young for such a thing. In addition to playing poker, she drives, plays golf, goes out for walks, and loves to shop. She thinks that because she is so active, she doesn’t need a medical alarm system of any kind because that’s “for old people”.

This lovely and vibrant lady was shocked to hear that we have customers in their 30’s and 40’s who live alone and just enjoy the peace of mind that a medical alert system brings. There is no age limit on emergencies, and who knows what could happen just stepping into the shower or getting out of bed to use the restroom in the middle of the night? The reality is that a telephone is not always within reach.

I often talk to people who don’t want anyone to know that they have a medical alarm system. They ask for advice on how to hide it. I can give them a few tips, such as wearing the pendant on a long and pretty chain so they can keep the device tucked into their blouse, or getting a new leather watch band placed on the wrist button, but why should we be embarrassed by a medical alert system? Most of our employees wear their Mobile Device with pride, clipped onto their belt or pocket. Why should caring so much about ourselves, that we want to stay safe, be anything other than celebrated?

People often say that they have a cell phone “for emergencies only” but then when they need to use it, they need to find it, make sure it’s charged up, turn it on, and figure out which phone number to call. Other than the obvious questions – will 911 know who you are? Will they know how to find you? Will they have any idea what your medical conditions are? – there are the more important questions – How do you know your cell phone will be within reach when you’re having an emergency? If you are able to reach your cell phone and dial 911 and are unable to speak because you have passed out or you are in pain, what will happen? With MobileHelp (www.MobileHelpNow.com), if you press your button and are unable to communicate, we will be able to dispatch help. We will contact you on your MobileHelp device and if you are unable to answer, since we have all of your information on file, we have the ability to assume that there is an emergency and based on GPS and cellular technology, dispatch help to wherever you are, even if you’re on vacation, playing sports, shopping, fishing, exercising, or going for a walk. It doesn’t matter if you’re 39 years old or 93 years old – you won’t need to lay on the floor wondering if 911 will be able to figure out who you are and where to send help.

There is no age limit on the desire for safety and security. We need not be self conscious about wanting to keep ourselves happy and healthy for as long as possible. A mobile medical alert system like MobileHelp (www.MobileHelpNow.com) allows us to stay safe in our own homes and beyond. It provides greater independence for seniors (and everyone else!) and keeps us vital and active. Moments matter. Getting help quickly in an emergency can mean the difference between quick medical attention and complete recovery, or taking too long to get medical attention with tragic results.

MobileHelp utilizes cellular and GPS technology when you are away from the home to provide you assistance nationwide.   If you or a loved one wants to be prepared for an unexpected emergency in the home and away from the home, give Mobile Help a try.  MobileHelp www.MobileHelpNow.com offers a 30 day risk free trial so you have nothing to lose and independence to maintain.

 

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