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How to Prevent a Stroke

heart strokeheart stroke

heart stroke

While a stroke can happen to anyone, there are some lifestyle modifications that can lower the chances of it happening to you. If you start feeling a sudden numbness, tingling, and loss of movement, or if you start having trouble speaking or walking, you may be experiencing a stroke. Once you get to this point, it’s already too late. You don’t have to leave it everything up to chance, though. It is possible to get proactive about your health and minimize your risk.

Control Your Blood Pressure

One of the biggest things you can do to decrease the likelihood of a stroke is to control your blood pressure. A healthy blood pressure, lower than 120/80, can drop your risk by about 50%. There are a number of things you can do to keep everything under control, and while it may require some real lifestyle changes, the long-term benefits will be worth it.

Exercise

Exercising regularly strengthens the heart and lowers blood pressure.  In addition, exercise lowers the chances for developing diabetes and high cholesterol which are both risk factors for having a stroke.  This means that through exercise you can keep these two health issues at bay and in turn prevent a stroke.

Stop Smoking

Smokers are more likely to have strokes. Studies have shown that after you have quit smoking for two years, the risk decrease dramatically. Each time you smoke you are causing damage to the cardiovascular system and build up a fatty substance in the carotid artery, which is what transports blood to the brain. This blockage is the leading cause of stroke in America, so it is important to stop as soon as possible.

Watch your Weight

Gaining too much weight can increase your chances of a stroke. In fact, studies have shown that by gaining even 22 pounds after the age of 18 could impact your health and increase your risks. It is important to keep your weight down through proper exercise and a healthy diet.

Medication

If you have suffered from a previous stroke, you need do everything you can to prevent a second one from happening. There are some medications that doctors can prescribe to help lower the chances of a repeat visit.  Antiplatelet drugs and anticoagulants help prevent blood clots from forming so they can’t cause a stroke.

Limit Alcohol

Heavy alcohol intake can raise blood pressure. Drinking more than two drinks a day can increase stroke risks because alcohol can also harden arteries and potentially cause a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Diet

Eating right can be extremely beneficial. A diet high in saturated fat is not good for cardiovascular health and can raise your cholesterol level. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can help maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy.

For more information and some specific details on the symptoms of a stroke and how to prevent one, be sure to consult:

http://www.webmd.com/stroke/tc/stroke-topic-overview

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=causes

How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

As we age, we tend to take more prescription drugs. Whether these medications are for cholesterol or another physical ailment, they can be necessary for good health. However, they also can be rather expensive. In today’s how-to-guide, we hope to help our readers continue in good health while saving money on prescription drugs.

Stats on Prescription Drug Use

In the last decade, the average percentage of American citizens who reported taking two or more prescription drugs in the past month increased by 6%, and out of every 10 seniors, 9 recounted having taken at least one prescribed drug in the last month or less. Spending in the United States for prescribed medicine has doubled in ten years to $234.1 billion dollars, and the most commonly prescribed drugs for aging adults include antidepressants and lowering cholesterol pills. Read other important senior related statistics in this post.

Saving Money on Medications the Wrong Way

In an effort to avoid high medication costs, many of us resort to unhealthy ways to save. Some of the most common ways include sharing medications with others who may have a prescription, substituting prescribed medications for herbal supplements, purchasing medications of the Internet, and switching pharmacies regularly.

The problem with these unhealthy ways to save is that it’s never safe to take a medication that has been prescribed for a friend. Herbal supplements have benefits but cannot replace doctor recommended medications. Internet pharmacies can be dodgy as well as negatively impact health through false pills. Switching pharmacies can lower prices but result in miscommunication and potentially inaccurate drug mixing, especially if you receive one drug from a pharmacy and purchase a conflicting one from another.  Another common problem related to medication is simply not staying on top of it, but here are some helpful tips for staying on top of your medication.

Saving Money on Medications in a Healthy and Cost Effective Way

So, how do we avoid spending what feels like millions of dollars of our hard-earned money on prescription medications and still be healthy? We’re here to help with the following four suggestions.

  1. Go Generic

Brand name drugs are common, but many pharmacies will offer a generic option. This option has the same active ingredients and side effects as the popular medications but can cost on average four times less or approximately 30% to 80% less than its brand name counterpart.

  1. Speak with your Physician

Some healthcare providers are aware of how much a drug they are prescribing may cost, while others are not. To save money, it is recommended to speak with physicians about the current price being paid for a medication and they may be able to prescribe a less expensive, yet equally effecting medication option.

  1. Discuss Splitting Pills

Prescription medications that come in pill form often cost the same, regardless of size. This means that prescription drugs with 80 mg of a medication can more often than not cost the same as the 40 mg option. Try discussing splitting pills with the pharmacy tech or the prescribing physician to see if medications may be available for this option. If prescribed a 40mg pill, splitting an 80 mg will result in saved money, make the pills last longer and help patients still receive the required amount of medicine.

  1. Explore Patient Assistance Programs

Most companies that manufacture pharmaceutical medications have assistance programs in place to provide discounts to people who may be struggling to afford their prescription drugs. These programs can help save money and are often free to participate in. Through exploring this option, one can save large amounts of money at the pharmacy counter.

Saving Money on Prescription Drugs

We hope the information within this how-to-guide has helped in continuing good health while saving money on prescription drugs. Through assistance programs, proper money saving techniques, and speaking to doctors, you too can save money on the expense of prescribed medications.

 

Amy Trenton

Statistic Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db42.htm

10 Ways to Keep an Aging Mind Active

It is true that as we age, our brain’s processing speeds and memory may show signs of slowing down but several studies over the years have found that through the ten lifestyle activities listed below, senior adults can maintain youthful brain functions and have fun while exercising their minds.

Participate in Gardening

Gardening can be a fun-filled activity for humans of all ages but for older adults the act of gardening can actually keep an aging mind active. The act of gardening stimulates the senses of sight, touch, smell and even taste, all of which relay back to the brain triggering activeness and even memory recall. Using fingers and hands to dig in the dirt, plant vegetables or even pick the fruits of gardening labor can enhance brain use and improve finger dexterity. Another benefit of gardening is that is allows elder adults to enjoy the outdoors and participate in physical exercise as well as have healthy foods.

Eat Health Foods

Speaking of healthy foods, scientists have found that throughout our lives, and even more so as we become older, our brains need the correct balance of nutrients to operate at optimum levels. Over several studies, researchers have found that fried foods or those high in fat and cholesterol can be attributors to increased risk of having Alzheimer’s. To help the brain remain active, adults need to focus on eating more health foods such as fish, nuts, lean proteins and of course, fruits and vegetables.

Take A Cooking Class

Strangely enough, many experts suggest that to keep an aging mind active, one of the best things to do is take a cooking class. Not only does this suggestion promote healthy eating but it also takes the brain through a series of brain functions, keeping it active. Learning to cook or engaging the mind in a cooking class can help the brain sharpen up cognitive thinking skills as well as activate our five senses, stimulating the brain in a similar way to that of gardening. Even a simple task such as identifying all the ingredients used in a meal can enhance brain use through memory recall.

Compete in Timed Challenges

Many specialists suggest that participating in crossword puzzles can help keep the mind active through the aging process, but while these games and puzzles can be fun and beneficial, psychologists and scientists recommend taking these challenges a step further by timing them. The ability to multi-task and think quickly are some of the first brain functions that deteriorate as we get older, but with timed puzzles and games such as Boggle, senior adults can engage those brain functions and skills to keep them active in the coming years.

Be Socially Active

Depression and stress are both attributed to memory loss in elder adults. However, there is an easy cure to fight these inner demons and that is to be socially active. Being a part of a social group or even participating in a weekly book club or discussion group can reduce stress and ward off depression, therefore helping the brain remain active.  Also, beyond the emotional brain benefits of social involvement, maintaining a conversation can require quick thinking and concentration, both of which exercise the brain and keep it active.

Engage in Reading and Writing

Joining a book club is an excellent social activity and regular reading is considered one of the best activities to maintain a cognitively active brain throughout the aging process. Books can engage the imagination, enhance memory and employ a human’s senses, resulting in dramatic brain activity increases. Researchers recommend that senior adults read content that is intriguing, fun and engaging to them for the best reading experiences and brain results.

In a combination with reading, writing has also been proven to enhance the brain’s functioning power. Aging adults are encouraged to create handwritten notes, letters and stories to help the brain focus on language, memory, critical and quick thinking. However, keep in mind the writing must be done by hand to engage the mind, working on a keyboard doesn’t provide near the benefits to the brain.

Sign Up for a Dance Class

Another great way for older adults to be socially active, get some gentle exercise and get a bit of a brain healthy work out is to take a dance class. Learning and recalling a sequence of dance moves, steps and combinations can stimulate the brain’s motor centers and sedate the body’s stress response, both of which can contribute to better brain functions as we age.

Try Something Different and New

If taking cooking or dances classes weren’t enough reasons to try something new, many scientists have research that suggests adults who are continually intellectually challenged show less chance of having memory loss through the aging process. In conjunction with these studies, researchers have also concluded that older adults who are more open to new ideas and trying new things can delay dementia and enhance cognitive thinking.

Play an Instrument

One new and different activity to try as an older adult is the playing an instrument. Whether senior adults have never played before or played an instrument as children, experts have found that over a time period of four months with playing only an hour a week, aging adults developed improved brain control and skills in memory, hand and finger dexterity, and hearing. By trying something new and taking musical lessons, older adults can maintain an active mind.

Enjoy Regular Exercise

It may seem as though regular exercise is a key part to maintaining good health in every article you read, but that is because it is! Not only is exercise an excellent way to keep the body healthy but it is also known to improve the mind’s core functions. Exercising has been proven in reducing the risk of bodily breakdowns such as diabetes, strokes or heart attacks but it also increases blood flow to the brain and assists in the prevention of memory loss diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Specialists recommend senior adults participate in an active exercise daily, whether it is dancing classes, gardening, or walking.

Amy Trenton

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/keeping-the-aging-brain-h_n_1202899.html#s423675&title=Stay_Intellectually_Challenged

http://www.oprah.com/health/Aging-Brain-Facts-Do-You-Get-Smarter-as-You-Age

http://www.care.com/senior-care-9-ways-to-keep-an-aging-brain-smart-p1017-q18792393.html

Stay Happy. Live Good. Age Well.

Aging can be a difficult process to come to terms with. Even though you thought it would never happen, inevitably it has. But while some adults get depressed at the thought of getting older, others embrace it with open arms- finding the balance between staying happy, living good and of course, aging well.

Staying Happy

Recent studies have found that nearly all happy adults have four key characteristics that keep them in high spirits as they age. These four traits sound simple enough, but it is only through implementation, you can truly start your journey to staying happy as you become older.

Focus on The Good

After working for a lifetime, it can be a difficult transition to retirement life. However, without all the small work details rolling around in your brain, you can truly focus your brainpower to see the good that is all around you. Neglect the negativity of no longer working or of aging- worry and negativity is a waste of time. By focusing on the good, you can live a happy lifestyle, actually become happier and positively impact those closest to you.

Understand Purpose is Privilege

Finding a purpose in old age may seem daunting but it is a privilege. For decades, your purpose may have been to work and provide for a family but now as a retired adult, you have the privilege of finding a purpose and finding joy in your work through exploring new things.

Don’t Sweat The Little Things

Regrets are useless and small errors can easily be overcome. Becoming upset over little things or thinking “I wish…” only takes away from the moments of now. Happy adults often let go of the little things when focusing on the good and are grateful for the positive and remaining moments to come.

Work to Live Good

Personal health is directly related to happiness and those elderly adults with more active lifestyles are known to be happier than those who are not. It can take work to “live good” but through interaction with others, exercise and good lifestyle habits, you can stay happy.

Live Good

The term live good can be interpreted several ways, but many happy adults interpret it to mean having a healthy lifestyle, being connected to others and finding new passions. We’ve created a list of things that many older adults have said help them live good. Which one speaks to you?

  • Service- participating in a service project for family members, friends or the community can not only help others, but helps you connect with people while being involved and living good.
  • Walking Groups- Many elderly adults are members of walking groups. This helps them stay physically active and is a good time to catch up with friends.
  • Take a Class- taking a class at the senior center can help you find a new purpose and passion and maybe even meet new friends with similar interests.
  • Surround Yourself- As humans, we are social creatures who thrive for interaction with others and being part of a family or community. Aging adults who surround themselves with family, friends and even a pet, combat loneliness and feel involve- creating a happier lifestyle
  • Eat Healthy- Cooking can be an enjoyable experience and eating healthy can prolong life and promote living good.

Age Well

Aging well is the perfect combination of a healthy lifestyle filled with living good and having happy habits. Aging well can also mean being surrounded by those you love and actively finding new things to learn and be passionate about. Old age does not need to be daunting or disheartening; it can be a time of true exploration and happy memories. What have you done in your own life to stay happy, live good, and age well?

Amy Trenton

Becoming Forgetful? Automate These 6 Things

As we age, we tend to become a little forgetful. Whether you have noticed you seem to misplace items more often, or you are the child of someone who is becoming increasingly more forgetful, there are 6 things that can be automated to save stress, time, worry and money.

1. Sprinklers

Yard work is an excellent way to spend time, and it sure makes a home look wonderful, but if a sprinkler is left on and forgotten, it can mean very high water bills, flooding and possibly days until the sprinkler is turned off. Changing over to an automated sprinkler system prevents this and still allows for proper yard care, just without the worry and stress.

2. Check Deposits

Direct deposit has been available for quite a few years now, but still many seniors do not take advantage of it. Direct deposit can save trips to the bank, gas, mileage and worry. Automate your government checks to go directly into your checking account to ensure it gets there without the stress of planning a trip to the bank or misplacing it.

3. Prescription Refills

Did you know that you can automate your prescription refills? If you have a prescription to be filled monthly, that process can be automated through several pharmacies offering this service. Without prompt, your prescription can be refilled and the pharmacy will then call, email, or even text you that your prescription is ready.

4. Groceries

Going grocery shopping each week can be time consuming and take a lot of memory with lists, planning and weekly changes. To assist with this, there are several companies that provide personal shopping for you. Some programs have online setup and even save previous weeks lists so the whole process is simple and easy. Then, the groceries are delivered to your home, without any stress or forgetfulness.

5. Pet Care

As we age, remembering to care for our pets can become increasingly difficult. To combat this, there are several ways to automate pet care. First, there are bulk water and food feeders that give pets a week’s worth of food with little effort on your part. Just set a weekly reminder to refill, and your pets are fed and watered. Also, if you are no longer able to take your pet for walks or to the groomers, several charity organizations, such as Volunteers of America offer this service for free.

6. Home Cleaning

It can be hard to remember to clean your home weekly, and in some cases, it may be impossible to do this task due to medical reasons. If this is the case, there are several automated home cleaning options available.  Some weekly cleaning services can set up payments through online bill pay, automating the process even further. Just schedule them the day before trash day to ensure the garbage is taken out and you are worry free.

Bonus Tips: It is important as we get older to take precautions with an identification bracelet. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember a phone number or an address, so with an identification bracelet featuring your name, address and a contact phone number on it, you can always be prepared. It may also be time to consider a medical alert bracelet if you have health problems and may be alone when an emergency arises. Check out all of our medical alert bracelets.

Becoming Forgetful?

So, as we continue to age and become a little more forgetful, it’s important to automate these 6 things for an easier and worry free life. Are there any other things you’ve automated to make your life easier? We look forward to hearing from you.

Written by Amy Trenton

6 Senior Living Statistics Worth Understanding

As we grow into our senior years or have parents rapidly approaching the ages of “elderly” it is important to know a few key statistics to help with your plan as you or your loved ones get older. These statistics are worth understanding because they can aid you in the decisions to live alone, to use a medical alert system or to live a care center. Keep in mind that you may be able to do all three of those living stages as you get older, but it is always important to understand that facts and create a plan for how to proceed in the golden years of life.

1.     3.2 million Households in America are Homes of Seniors Living Alone

Roughly 10% of households with Americans living by themselves are homes with people aged 65 and older. This percentage has grown by 7% since the year 2005 and is expected to increase as baby boomers reach their golden years.

2.     900,000 Seniors Live in Care Centers

Across the Nation there are more than 900,000 people living in a type of assisted living settings. Approximately 70% of assisted living move-in elderly adults have moved from a private home or apartment and 7% have moved from a family residence.

3.     2/3 of Seniors with Chronic Disabilities Are Cared For By Family

Two thirds of seniors receive informal care from family or friends and this includes help around the house and assistance with disabilities. Many elderly adults live with family or are assisted by family in their private homes before, if ever, moving to a care center. To prevent care center living and to maintain independence, many elderly adults and their families opt to use a medical alert system. These systems are fantastic for medical help and assistance, especially in the instances of falls.

4.     Falls Are the Most Common Complaint Among The Elderly

Falls can be prevented in the home with grab bars and several other precautionary measures but they still happen and are the number on complaint of seniors living alone. Some falls are small and cause minimal damage but other falls can create a need for hip surgeries and replacement. When falls are nearly critical and cause a large amount of damage, it is important to have a medical assistance system in place to call and to receive immediate help.

5.     Elderly Adults Visit the Doctor at a Ratio of 7 to 1 Each Year Over Adults ages 45 to 65

In 2007, seniors averaged more doctors’ office visits that adults between the ages of 45 to 65 did. This reflects on increased fragility of the body as well as deteriorating functions that come with age. In 2012, 97% of seniors reported a continuous doctor that they visited on a consistent basis.

 

6.     64% of Elderly Care Center Residents Need ADL Assistance Bathing

ADL stands for Activities of Daily Living. This means activities that are a part of life each day. As we age, some of these takes become more difficult than others. Seniors living in care centers see the best help with ADL with 64% needing assistance with bathing, 39% needing help getting dressed, 26% requesting assistance with Toileting and 12% requiring help with eating.  87% of residents in assisted living or care centers also require help with meal preparation and 81% need help with the management of medications.

 Senior Living

The golden years of life can creep up on us and our families and it is important to understand the facts and create a plan for senior living. Creating a plan now can prevent confusion and accidents in the future. Do not wait until it is too late to get a medical alert system from Rescue Alert for your home or to install grab bars. As you or your parents make the journey into senior life, remember the statistics and use them to help in your plan and decision making processes.

Written by Amy Trenton

Safe Living 101: Stay On Top Of Your Medication

75% of older Americans are prescribed to take at least three medications daily and over half of the population over the age of 65 take herbal and vitamin supplements. It can be difficult to remember to take prescription medications and several have instructions for taking twice daily, taking a pill with meals or taking medications before bed. As the loving caretaker of an elderly adult or as an adult over 65, it can be difficult to organize each daily pill regimen and stay on top of medications. In order to assist with this, we’ve created a list of three ways that when combined allow adults to stay on top of personal medications and have a normal life unencumbered by forgetfulness and stress of taking multiple medications.

Stay Organized

One way to stay on top of medications is to stay organized. Weekly or monthly pill boxes allow for pills to be split up and organized into daily sections and some pill dividers come with a set of daily evening and morning divisions. These pill boxes allow for elderly to spilt up their medications in a way that is easy to see and remember which pills to take on which day. These boxes can be reorganized once a month, one a week or whenever necessary but it is important to refill the boxes when they are empty. This organization allows for the elderly to accurately take their medications free of hassle.

Set Reminders

If a medication has instructions to be taken at a certain time, it is important to create reminders for oneself. Place the pill near any area it will be seen or set an alarm to remind you to take the pill. Both of these are great ways to implement the organization of medications and remember to actually take them. Reminders can be set in phones, over home systems, on televisions or even with a timer. It is important to remember to take the medication and setting reminders throughout a home is the perfect way to do that.

Make a Routine

Lastly, make a routine for yourself. When you fill your prescriptions, immediately take them home and organize them into the weekly/monthly pill organizers. This saves time and effort later and begins the process of creating a routine. When setting alarms, set them for the same times daily and create a routine around taking medications. If food needs to be eaten with a medication, set reminders during times when you eat, thus making a routine.

Stay On Top of Your Medication

Through staying organized, setting reminders and making a routine of taking prescription and supplement medications, America’s elderly can remain healthier longer and stay on top of their medications.

For other tips on safe living click here and here.

Written by Amy Trenton

What to Expect from a Rescue Alert Response

We never know when an accident might happen, or when we might need some help, so it’s important to understand exactly what you can expect from a Rescue Alert response. We want you to feel more confident about using the system to reach out to others when something unfortunate occurs.

Reaching the Response Center

Our response center is a state-of-the-art facility staffed with skilled, friendly people around the clock. Whenever you require assistance, there is someone in the Response Center ready to help. And you don’t need to have a “medical emergency” before you use the system. In other words, you don’t need to break a hip in a fall to contact us. Sometimes you just need help getting back up. Our system connects you directly to someone who can make sure you get help for almost any problem.

Making Contact

Once you have contacted the Response Center we can call anyone on your list of responders. This could include friends, family, neighbors, or emergency response services. There is no limit on the number of people you can include on this list, so it can be as extensive as you want.

When you press the panic button one of our attendants will first attempt to contact you over our system. If you are in a location where you can’t hear or speak to us over the system, we will then try to reach you through your home number. If we still cannot contact you, we will begin to call the people on your responder list until we find someone who can go and check on you.

In the unlikely event that we cannot reach any contacts that are in a position to provide help, we will contact emergency services and send them to your location.

Gaining Access

It’s important to make sure that someone has access to your home when they need to check on your safety and health. One way we can do this is by keeping a list of people who have a key to your house and we’ll call them first to go and check on you. However, it can get a little complicated to keep track of all the people who have received a key over the years, so there are some other options.

You could, for example, keep a key in a lock box at your house. We will keep the code on file to share with emergency responders or your friends and family who may need to gain access to your home. You can change the code as often as you like to maintain security – just keep us informed each time you make the change.

Dedicated Response

Our Response Center was designed specifically to monitor medical alerts, and our staff has been trained to provide the kind of friendly and informed services you need. They have the background to recognize life-threatening emergencies and react accordingly. We’ll make sure that you get the right help when you need it.

 

Written by Amy Trenton

Safe Living 101: Stay Active & Healthy

Staying active and healthy is important at any age. If not properly taken care of, the body can have health problems as it begins to age. You are responsible for taking care of your body.  Educate yourself so you are able to take control of your health. It also might help to have a senior medical monitoring system in case something does happen.

Move

A body in motion is a healthy body. To get good exercise you don’t have to go to the gym and spend hours on the treadmill. There are ways to get a good cardio workout that can be fun and inviting. Play a sport. Go on a hike. Go for a walk. Whatever you do, make sure that your body is moving every single day.

Exercise builds muscle, improves energy levels and increases flexibility. It is important to stay active no matter how old you are. It is never too late to start exercising. Also it would

Add Good Habits

A lot of diets fail because you remove everything you love. A smart way to stay fit is to add good things to your diet and activity level. Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on adding more good habits. Drink more water. Take a multivitamin. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Exercise every day. Focus more on what you add than what you take away.

Healthy Diet

Keeping your body healthy has a lot to do with what you put in your mouth. Not only does a healthy diet keep your physique looking good, diet plays a role in the overall energy your body has as it begins to age. A healthy diet can help hair and skin age more gracefully.  Keep your diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Stay away from smoking and excessive alcohol.

If your body is deprived from necessary nutrients it will not perform to its’ full potential. Pay attention to everything you put in your mouth. Eat less sugar and more lean meats, vegetables and whole grains. As you age, make sure you are getting enough calcium to help your bones.

Drink, Drink, Drink

Not only is water a necessity for survival and how our body functions on the inside, it has an impact on the way our body looks on the outside. Being dehydrated can dry-out skin and hair. Ample water in your system can decrease bloating. Drinking a lot of water is crucial because that is the way toxins leave the body.  In order to flush your system with water, you need to drink at least eight glasses a day.

Catch Some ZZZs

You may not realize the many reasons your body needs sleep, until you go without it. Sleep truly makes you a healthier and happier person. This is a time the body needs to recharge and rest. Eight hours of rest is ideal for most people.

Written by Amy Trenton

Safe Living 101: Emergency Contact List

Disasters are not something we ever expect. However, we must plan for catastrophe. If disaster strikes and you are unprepared, every difficulty and problem is magnified.

In a disaster, time is of the essence. Often, every minute is valuable during emergency. Being prepared and knowing how to handle difficult situations before they happen can help you make better decisions and survive the calamity.

In an emergency it is important to be able to immediately find phone numbers for family members, police, the fire department and many other organizations. In order for this information to be easily accessed, you must prepare.

Create a List

An emergency contact list is a list of all phone numbers that may be needed during crisis. These numbers can range from family members, to doctors, to poison control, to ecclesiastical leaders. It is important to either create your own list or find a template online. Write down all phone numbers that may be needed when disaster strikes.

Make it Accessible

After the list is completed, it must be placed in a logical location that is accessible to all family members. Putting the list inside the cupboard by the phone is a logical location. If your family has an emergency binder, that is also a great location for the emergency contact list. Find a place that is practical and convenient. After the location has been determined, make certain the list is always there.

Inform

It is important all family members are educated concerning the emergency contact list. Have a family meeting to discuss the list, where it is located and what may constitute the use of the list. It is a good idea to have the words, “Who, What, Where” on the bottom of the list. This can remind a frazzled caller what information they need to give when there is an emergency – who is involved, what happened and where they are located.

If you are ever leaving home without your children it is important to inform whoever is in charge where the list is located. Discuss not only the list location, but situations that may warrant use. Make sure everyone in the home is ready to handle an emergency.

Prepare

It is important for all family members, regardless of age, to prepare for emergency. However, it is especially important to make sure children are prepared. It is a good idea to have small children memorize their names, ages, addresses, and parents’ names. Go through each phone number and a hypothetical situation that would be reason to use their particular phone number.

If you are living at home alone, though, and are at risk of having an accident that won’t let you reach a phone, there are still some options for you and your contact list. When you use the Rescue Alert system you can provide us the list and we can contact any of them for you. Friends, family, neighbors, police, paramedics, and anyone else – you’re not restricted to a certain number of people when you face an emergency.

Written by Amy Trenton

A Medical “Alert” To Senior Citizens

Medical alert Infographicmedical alert infographic

You always want to make sure that senior citizens are safe. One of the best ways of keeping them safe is preventing anything that could happen and also having a system and plan in case something does happen. Make sure that you prepare yourselves and educate yourselves to keep the senior citizens in your life safe.

 

medical alert infographic

Safe Living 101: Taking the Stairs

Stairs are a source of trouble for many seniors—they may not be able to climb or descend as quickly as they used to, and they may be at an increased risk of falling. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to completely eliminate the need to use stairs, but there are things you can do to make the stairs in your home safer for seniors to use.

How to Make Your Stairs Safer

  • Handrails – Even if you already have stair handrails, you may need to modify them slightly to provide the most benefit. Handrails should run the entire length of the stairs, including intermediate landings, and should extend out slightly beyond the first and last steps. In addition to providing support, handrails can act as a physical cue for where the stairs start and finish that is useful for people with visual impairments.
  • Non-slip – Each step should be have a reduced-slip surface, and the handrails should be easy to grip and non-slippery.
  • Lighting – Stairwells should be brightly lit, and the edge of each step should have a clear contrast and be easy to see. Position lights so that there are no odd shadows or dark spaces—try for even lighting all across the stairs, including the bottom half.
  • Good repair and even – If your home has oddly-shaped or warped stairs, you may consider remodeling to put in stairs that are evenly spaced. Spiral and tapered stairs should be avoided. In addition, you may want to remove thick carpets that make the steps taller and more difficult to climb.
  • No obstructions – Keep clear approach spaces for the stairs. Don’t allow anything to obstruct the stairs or the top or bottom landings, including furniture, area rugs, or doors. Make sure there are no nails or screws sticking up in any of the steps and do not allow toys or other items to be left on the stairs.
  • Middle landing – Including a landing in the middle of the stairs is a good idea to give seniors a chance to rest.

Tips for Helping Seniors Use the Stairs

Once you have made your stairs safer, you can turn your attention to helping seniors be prepared to use the stairs safely.

  • Stay in stair-climbing shape – Exercises like leg stretches, balancing, and walking can help seniors retain the mobility needed to climb stairs.
  • Don’t hold items while using the stairs – Seniors should not climb or descend stairs holding heavy items or items that they need more than one hand to carry.
  • Get other problems checked out – Dizziness may be the result of an ear infection or medication. If you or your loved ones are having problems with stairs, get things checked out by a doctor and ask about possible solutions.
  • Get a senior monitoring system — The last thing you want is an accident when a senior is using the stairs. If an accident does happen, especially if the senior is alone, it is best to have them equipped with a senior monitoring system so they can get help quick.

These precautions are simple, but they can save lives. Help the seniors in your life be more mobile and independent by implementing these tips.

Written by Amy Trenton.

Important Considerations for Responding to an Elderly Person who has Fallen Down

Nearly 40% of elderly people fall annually. That number increases to 50% for the elderly who live in nursing homes. According to some estimates, falls represent the leading cause of accidental death.

Elderly people fall down for many reasons

There are numerous reasons why people fall down; however, the majority of falls take place when an elderly person with impaired mobility encounters an environmental hazard. Naturally, falling increases risk of injury and even death. Elderly people that are frail and have preexisting medical challenges have a much greater risk of getting hurt and needing to be hospitalized as a result of a fall.

Take the time to make several observations before responding

Although one might assume that the procedures for helping an elderly person that has fallen down would be obvious and simple, the Chinese Health Ministry just took two years to create a set of technical guidelines that resulted in 41 pages of information. One of the things their report stresses is that you should not react hastily, rather you should “observe and inquire about their health conditions first and then act accordingly”. This enables you to make note of several factors prior to determining your course of action.

Four things to do before taking action

Although the natural impulse is to rush in and begin moving the person or helping them up, it is wise to do the following things first

  • Evaluate the person’s physical condition
  • Determine the cause of the accident
  • Identify potential risks such as being close to a staircase
  • Formulate a plan for rescue workers

Check for head injuries

One of the most dangerous injuries that can be sustained in a fall is a head injury. For this reason, that is one of the first things you would want to check. Make a visual inspection and see if the person is conscience and if they can speak to you and give you feed back about their condition and what they are experiencing.

Determine if CPR if needed

In some instances the person may be experiencing difficulty breathing or may have stopped altogether. In these situations you need to address that situation and if necessary, perform CPR before you consider trying to move them. If you have not become certified in CPR you may want to consider doing so.

Stop the bleeding

In a case where the person is bleeding profusely it is important to stop the bleeding. Depending on the location, severity and nature of the injury they may need a tourniquet or just a bandage. Limiting the loss of blood would be a top priority before moving them or helping them up

Respond to vomiting

If the person is vomiting, you need to turn their head to one side, and clean out the mouth and nose to ensure unobstructed breathing. If they are experiencing convulsions they should be gently moved to flat soft ground or soft material of the body. It is important to try to make them comfortable.

Check for broken bones and try to find out the cause of the fall

If the elderly person is still conscious, ask them why they fell and what they remember about it. By finding out the cause of the fall you can often get a more accurate determination of what all of the issues are and if dizziness or other preexisting issues caused the fall. There are several situations in which it is not advisable to move the person until trained medics arrive, including broken bones in certain places.

When in doubt call for help

Although many times the fallen person simply needs help getting back up, there are times when it is not appropriate to move them. In some cases if the person is immediately propped up or transferred to another location, it may cause cerebral hemorrhaging or other complications. This is why it is critical that you identify any severe medical problems before moving forward with a plan of moving the person.

Whenever the situation is beyond your level of expertise, call the paramedics and let them assess the situation. A lot of senior citizens these days are carrying a senior monitoring alert system which makes it easier to call for help. In some cases they will be able to help you evaluate the situation by asking questions over the phone. Other times you many need to have them come and take over. By pondering these considerations you can be more confident in helping someone who has fallen.

 

This post is written by Amy Trenton, who is a writer for RescueAlert.com.

How To Prevent Accidents In Your Home

As seniors age, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that the home in which they live, is safe. Many seniors can live a healthy and full lifestyle into their late 80’s and even 90’s if they just prevent debilitating accidents from occurring. The most common accident that debilitates seniors is a senior suffering from a fall. The health and lifestyle of a senior pre and post fall can be almost night and day. A senior with almost perfect health can quickly see their health dwindle after suffering from a fall. The following tips will help you protect your home from accidents occurring, especially falls. These tips will be beneficial for everyone, especially seniors.

Falls

The most common place where falls occur, especially for seniors, is the stairs. Naturally, as you age it becomes harder to go up and down stairs, and it easy to slip or to become unbalanced and fall. This is why it is so important to make sure that clutter is always kept away from the stairs. Do not leave anything at the base or top of the stairs, even when you intend to take them to their proper place later. Many individuals have slipped over laundry set at the top of the stairs and landed at the base of the stairs with a lot of pain and injury.

The problem however is a lot more than just bumps and bruises, among seniors (adults over the age of 65), falls are the leading cause of injury death. In fact, approximately 20,000 seniors die each year from unintentional fall injuries, and more than 580,000 seniors are hospitalized each year from falling. Many of the health complications that arise from falls, even if they do not initially result in death, will act as a catalyst to other complications that will ultimately lead to a premature death.

Other suggest ideas to help prevent falls from occurring in your home are to make sure that stair handrails are secure, hallways and stairwells are well lit, there is a light switch close to your bed, installing grab bars in showers and using non-slip mats or strips as well, make sure floors are dry, and use a sturdy stool or ladder when trying to reach high places. All these will decrease the odds of a senior suffering from a fall, but the most important thing seniors can do to avoid falling is being careful. If necessary, seniors should use walkers, canes, or wheelchairs to avoid falling. Many seniors are too prideful to use such devices, but it is important to remind them more important than their pride is their health, and that you love and care for them, and want them to be healthy.

Other Possible Accidents

While we have focused on preventing falls, it is important to try to prevent other accidents from occurring too. Other accidents that can occur in a home include fires, poisoning, and drowning. To decrease the odds of these events from occurring it is important to: have smoke detectors on every floor of your house and test them monthly, keep a fire extinguisher handy, have carbon monoxide detectors installed and keep medicine and cleaners away from the reach of children, and never leave children alone in the bathtub, pool, or unsupervised where the possibility of drowning could occur. While these tips are not all encompassing, they are a good guide to follow, to prevent accidents from occurring in your home.

In addition to useful living practices to assist home accident prevention the Rescue Alert medical alert systems are a vital resource and tool helping save lives daily. Learn more about Rescue Alert today.

Post written by .

The MXD Alert System — State of the Art Technology

Rescue Alert is proud to introduce you to our newest innovation in medical alert technology: the MXD. This unit has been engineered by our experts to provide the highest quality product available in the medical alert market. Take a look at some of the features that make the MXD different:

Compatibility with Multiple Systems

Whether you are using voice over IP, cable, DSL, or a traditional telephone system, the MXD will work with what you have. Unlike some other medical alarm companies, Rescue Alert gives you the versatility to choose whichever system works best for you without worrying about whether your base unit will function correctly.

Automatic Testing and Self-diagnosis

The MXD is designed to test itself at least once a week to ensure optimum performance. Its self-diagnostic techniques include battery monitoring (including the battery of the panic button) and connection testing. These automatic tests give you the peace of mind to know that your unit is always operating within peak performance. The MXD will be ready to use when you need it.

Crystal Clear Sound Quality

One of the things that sets the MXD apart is its powerful microphone and speaker, which provide for excellent sound quality on both ends. If you ever need to connect to

our emergency monitoring station, you can do so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without worry.

Extended Panic Button Range

When compared to other units provided by other companies, the MXD has one of the longest panic button ranges in the industry. The optimum range is 600 feet, even through walls. In fact, when tested in the open air, Rescue Alert’s system was found to

work at distances of up to 1000 feet. These numbers are important for your safety—no matter where you are in your home, you will be able to get the help you need.

Fastest Response Time

Because our products are specifically engineered for medical monitoring, Rescue Alert has one of the fastest response times in the industry. The MXD, on average, connects to our professional monitoring station in under a minute, meaning that you can get the help you need faster.Another benefit of using Rescue Alert is that our response center is staffed with trained dispatchers who are trained specifically in handling emergency calls. They can stay on the line with you until help arrives and offer life-saving instructions and advice.

Rescue Alert takes its commitment to its customers seriously, which is why we provide solutions that other companies cannot match. The MXD is our latest technological advancement. It can be used with any of our other products, including our bracelets and necklaces, to ensure that you are always protected no matter what.

The Most Common Injuries and Health Issues Among the Elderly

The percentage of seniors in this country continues to grow every year, and this has led to an increase in the number of people 65 and older that have needed to receive emergency care or hospitalization for a range of injuries. There have been some recent studies into the causes and results of these injuries, with some mechanisms of injury standing out more than others. On the positive side, it looks like seniors who seek immediate help for their injuries have a good chance of returning to a normal, independent lifestyle. On the negative side, the older a person gets their risk of injury only increases.

The Causes

The two most common causes of nonfatal injuries among the elderly are unintentional falls and motor vehicle collisions. Falls are also the most common cause of injury death, which is likely due to the surprisingly small number of people seek out help from their healthcare provider after being injured this way.

According to the CDC, every year one in three adults over 65 years of age experiences a fall, but less than half of them will speak to a doctor about it. This is problematic because a lot of injuries that are caused by a fall could be treated if help is sought out immediately.

The Results

In 2009 there were 2.2 million nonfatal injuries treated in emergency rooms across the country, and of them 581,000 had to be hospitalized. Falls were reported to cause lacerations, hip fractures, head traumas, and in some cases, traumatic brain injuries. From these reports, one study suggested that elderly patients who are admitted after a significant trauma should immediately be checked for fractures as well as intracranial and subdural hemorrhages. These are apparently quite common after a fall – and subdural hemorrhages have the highest mortality rate, so it should be the first thing doctors try to find.

The same study also came to the conclusion that age does not necessarily predict injury severity or mortality, but it does suggest that elderly care patients will likely suffer more complications during their treatment. However, according the CDC, age does affect the chance of falling and receiving an injury (a person is four times more likely to experience a fall at 85 than at the 65-74 age group).
Even with all the possible complications, though, if treatment is received in a timely manner, it is still possible for a large percentage of these patients to return to a normal life.

What about Prevention?

Currently the CDC says that it is working to support the research and dissemination of ways to prevent falls among older adults, which includes some collaborative activities with organizations like the Administration on Aging as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Mayo Clinic has also listed six ways to prevent falls, including: seeing your doctor, staying physically active, wearing sensible shoes, removing hazards, keeping your living spaces brightly lit, and using assisted devices. Also, because the speed in which a person receives treatment for an injury can have a significant impact on whether or not they return to a fully independent lifestyle, it is also a good idea to keep a cell phone or medic alert system on hand (click here for source). A fractured hip or head trauma can make it impossible to seek help alone, but staying connected to people that are in a position to provide aid can be extremely helpful.

The growing population of seniors will have to face a lot of risks in their daily lives that they never would have considered before, and the emergency rooms and organizations that provide help and assistance for the elderly are going to have to prepare for the increase in potential injuries.

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/nonfatal/quickpicks/quickpicks_2007/allinj.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2386230/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fall-prevention/HQ00657

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/FallsPreventionActivity.html

Safety Tips: Choosing A Living Space Wisely

Your home should be a comfortable haven, but illness and old age can introduce challenges for elderly homeowners who want to maintain their independence. Consider some of these home modifications and other safety tips for making all areas of their home safer for your loved ones.

Home Safety Modifications for the Elderly

Entrances – The number one cause of injury and death among adults over age 65 are falls in and around the home. Ice, snow and rain can make entryways, porches and walkways more dangerous. Make sure that the main entrances to the home equipped with sturdy railings and ramps. Slip-resistant mats and adhesive strips can make landings and stairs safer, too.

Stairways – Stairs and landings inside the home can pose challenges to elderly residents, especially if mobility issues start to be an issue. Double railings on stairwells will offer more stability going up and down, and adhesive grip-tape will make non-carpeted stairs less prone to slipping. If necessary, you may wish to install a chair-lift on longer stairways when walking up and down becomes burdensome.

Lighting – Low visibility is a significant safety hazard, so proper lighting of the home is essential. Add light-fixtures to areas with poor illumination. Place light-switches conveniently near doors and entryways. For emergencies, you may want to add plug-in flashlights/night-lights to convenient outlets in most rooms and hallways.

Bathroom – Slip-and-fall injuries are common in the bathroom. Consider adding adjustable safety rails in the tub and shower, with grip-tape to prevent slipping. A sturdy shower bench with a handheld shower head will make bathing easier as well. Anti-scald devices for faucets and shower heads can also be installed easily to prevent burns.

Kitchens – The main concerns in the kitchen will be forgetting to turn off the oven or range after cooking. Look for stoves and ovens with automatic shutoff timers that cut power after a certain amount of inactivity. A timer can be added if the existing electric stove doesn’t have one built-in. Wired smoke-detectors are also an important feature for the kitchen. Kitchen floors should have slip-resistant mats for walkways as well.

Communication – Keep easily accessible phones in every room, including the bathroom. Just in case your loved one can’t get to the phone, an emergency alert system may be necessary. In the case of an injury, you’ll want them to have a communication lifeline that they can use to call for help.

Security – An adequate alarm system can add significant peace of mind, especially if your loved one lives alone or in an isolated neighborhood. Motion-sensing lights, door alarms and locating bracelets can not only preserve the integrity of the home, but they can alert you when an elderly loved one leaves the house unexpectedly or their routine is disrupted by a sudden fall or illness.

Life Alert vs. Rescue Alert: Medical Alert Comparison

It’s only natural that you’d want the best medical alert system available for your loved one or yourself. Of course, we here at Rescue Alert believe that our company offers devices and systems that are superior to everything else out there, and we want you to come to the same conclusion. Instead of simply taking our word for it, however, let’s take a look at some facts. How does our system stack up against those of other companies?

Let’s take a look at a well-established brand, Life Alert. While both Rescue Alert and Life Alert have been in the business the same amount of time about (25 years), we think that you’ll agree that our system has some definite advantages.

Panic Button Range

When it comes down to it, the most important thing your medical alarm system can do for you is work no matter where or when you need it, and when compared with Life Alert, Rescue Alert comes out on top for this vital statistic. Our alarm systems have an optimum panic button range of 600 or more feet, four times that of Life Alert, whose range is a mere 150 feet. In fact, when tested in the open air, our alert system was proven to work at distances of up to 1000 feet.

Having a longer range not only means that the panic button will work at longer distances, but also that the signal is stronger in closer ranges. This means more protection for you or your loved one.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher Certified Attendants

One thing that definitely sets Rescue Alert apart from most other medical alarm companies out there is the quality of our monitoring centers and attendants. Rescue Alert utilizes attendants that are EMD certified, which means that they are trained in handling emergency calls and in getting the necessary information from even the most panicked callers. They are qualified to provide advice and instruction to a patient and make the necessary snap judgments that may help save someone’s life. Other companies do not have EMD certified attendants because they are using monitoring centers that do not specialize in medical monitoring. Life Alert’s attendants are not EMD certified.

For more information about how Rescue Alert compares to Life Alert and other medical alarm companies, check out our Life Alert vs. Rescue Alert comparison. We think you will be won over by the facts about how our medical system is the best in the industry.