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Reducing the Risk of Falling

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.

“I’ve Fallen And … You Already Know!”

One of the most exciting developments in the life alert bracelet industry has taken the idea of medical alert bracelets to the next level and made the system even more reliable and valuable. Today we want to talk about the FallAlert system, which can send help to a fall victim regardless of their ability to push the alert button!

As people age, their strength and sense of balance can begin to fade. One in three people over the age of 65 will suffer a fall this year, and many will be left with lasting injury that further reduces their ability to move independently — and some will suffer fatal injuries and complication from that fall.

One of the best ways to protect your loved ones from the lasting effects of fall injuries is to get medical help to them as quickly as possible; to that end life alert bracelet style push-button monitors are a great way for fall victims to quickly notify medical professionals that they need help. But in the event they are rendered unconscious, or for some other reason, are unable to even push the button to summon aid, the system is all for naught.

FallAlert removes that possible problem by incorporating an inertial sensor into a pendant-style fall detection system, so the device recognizes the sudden movements associated with a fall — and, if the person doesn’t stand back up within a few seconds, summons help immediately, without the victim having to be conscious.

It’s a system that offers an unparalleled sense of security, knowing that help is moments away regardless of your loved one’s ability to call for it on their own; and if the emergency is something other than a fall, there’s also a button on the front so they can call for help regardless of the emergency!

When Should I Think About Medical Alarm Systems For My Parent?

In the age of the ubiquitous cell phone and the seeming ability to remain in constant contact with whomever we care to, children of parents who are growing older might think considering something like medical alarm monitoring systems a bit of overkill.

They’re not. Telephones have their limitations, and are no substitute for the instant ability to provide urgent care for your parent. Many seniors with mobility issues or motor problems, for example, aren’t just at increasing risk for injuries that result from falls — one of the leading causes of death in the age group. They’re also less likely to have the ability to successfully reach or operate a telephone, cellular or otherwise, immediately following an emergency.

Medical alarm systems also have the advantage for parents who have begun to show signs of dementia — even at the onset of such symptoms, when the “warning signs” may be quite subtle. Moments of forgetfulness, such as memory loss or simple confusion, can be costly in terms of delays when medical care is required; and more profound late-onset dementia, such as severe depression or even hallucination, can do more than slow down response. People with severe dementia can suffer serious injury and take absolutely no steps to help themselves, and if they live alone, such injuries can prove fatal.

Even parents who are in excellent physical and mental health can benefit from medical alarm monitoring systems as a lifeline in any emergency — a flood or fire, for example, or an earthquake, or even the sudden realization that they are aware of an unwanted intruder in the house. Medical alarm systems are always at-hand for your parent, always in-reach, and always working; for more information about medical alarm monitoring systems, contact us today!

How To Convince Your Parents To Get A Medical Alert System

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

Living Long and Well Through Music

Sometimes seeing dramatic, positive results can happen with just the push of a button. Music may appear to be nothing more than notes, words, and rhythms … but this art form is far more than the sum of its parts.

Healing with music

In the 1700s, doctors used music to treat depression, and Florence Nightingale employed music to ease soldiers’ pain during the Crimean War. Music’s healing abilities have long been understood, as today many physicians and therapists turn to music therapy to help their patients.

Music therapy for pain management has been proven highly effective. Surprisingly, just listening to music—any style of music—on a daily basis results in a drastic decrease in pain reported by patients, especially for the older adult population.

Music therapy can also ease depression. When implementing the mood-shifting capabilities of music into a patient’s treatment and usual routine, uplifting songs can have an elevating effect on mood

A third and very interesting type of music therapy is designed to improve the movement and walking abilities of older adults, especially stroke victims.

Let’s pick up the pace!
Therapists encourage patients to make their movements to the beat, and this actually helps them to work longer, have smoother movements, move more quickly, and walk longer distances. Simply listening to music helps to further all of these great steps toward recovery and improvement for people who could otherwise be suffering.

In all cases, music therapy is an inexpensive, non-invasive, and safe form of therapy that can benefit people of all ages.

Music memory

As we all know, it can be a challenge to recall certain facts or pieces of information, but the lyrics of a song learned decades ago
can be perfectly stated at the drop of a hat.

This  recollection phenomenon is known as music memory … something that forms between the ages of 15 to 25.

It sets in motion a person’s ability to associate music or a specific song with memories of time, place, emotional state, and even a sense of identity. Where, when, and with whom an individual learned a song can stay with him or her forever!

Music memory is so powerful that some physicians have started to use it to treat Alzheimer’s disease. While it is not a cure, tapping into music memory can help alleviate some of the most devastating symptoms, including memory loss. When listening to their favorite songs, individuals  with Alzheimers have  sometimes become vocal, started to dance, and express memories that were thought to be lost forever.

Truly music’s powers are remarkable.

Turn on some tunes today

Therapeutic, relaxing, physical and fun. Music is all these things and a simple way to living well … and long.

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

5 Remote Monitoring Services for Caregivers

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.

divider-line
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!

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

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 To Prevent Elderly Falls

Exercising in China
Obesity? Not a problem in China.
Beijing: 16 million residents,10 million bikes.
50,000 exercise daily in parks!

Thanks to brand new research, the American Geriatrics Society has just published its guidelines on  how to treat falls and how to avoid them in the first place. For seniors falls can mean altered lifestyles, fewer trips outside the home,  less independence and more isolation.  Ironically, seniors often make matters worse by not disclosing a fall to family or physician … fearing losing independence. Medications – A Leading Cause of FallsExcessive medications, particularly of psychotropic drugs, are a leading cause of falls.  They may have cumulative effects ” that lead to “unforeseen side effects,” notes the AGS Guidelines. Medications often are prescribed by different doctors that a senior may be seeing, and there can be a lack of communication and awareness of the combined effects of the drugs. Seniors and their families should be particularly aggressive about their medication needs. Customized Exercise Program A large body of evidence now supports the recommendation that exercise, in the form of resistance (strength) training and balance, gait, and coordination training, is effective in reducing falls. Vision impairment Aging is often associated with changes in visual acuity, development of cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other conditions that would suggest an effect on risk of falling. Vision concerns should be followed up with formal assessment and suggested treatment, particularly for cataracts. Dizziness When older people rise from a seated position, it’s not uncommon for their blood pressure to drop and for them to become dizzy and even disoriented. This condition, known as postural hypotension, is a common cause of falls. Your blood pressure needs to be checked in two positions – standing as well as seated, notes the Guidelines. Vitamin D Strongly RecommendedSeniors with suspected vitamin D deficiency should be routinely offered supplementation to reduce fall risk. People living in the Northeast and other areas with low seasonal sunlight levels should be evaluated for vitamin D deficiency. Feet and Footwear Common sense rules the day when it comes to aging feet. Well-fitting, comfortable shoes with non-skid soles are recommended. Age-Friendly Homes Many falls and other senior accidents occur at home and can be avoided with a bit of prevention. Many area agencies on aging and other senior programs can recommend or provide home screening services to identify problems. LifeCall Fall Alert Systems fall-alert2 Most Falls Take Place At Home FallAlert Auto Fall Detector by LifeCall is an ideal solution for reliable fall detection in partnership with the LifeCall Medical Alert System. A stylish, wireless fall detector, FallAlert functions both as a standard manual medical alert button and as a fall detection system. The system offers a comprehensive way of managing your risk of falling 24-hours-a-day. Call LifeCall at 1.866.220.1212.

New Research – Poor Sleep Causes Memory Loss

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