Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Preventing Falls on The Stairs

The vast majority of stairway falls result from a loss of balance.  So why do we need to worry so much about falls on stairs?

Stairs of all types have been used since ancient times, and because they are inherently hazardous, people have been falling on them, getting hurt or even killed in the process.

The fact is that some incidents can be caused by inattention, unsafe behavior, and inappropriate footwear.

But the good news is you can take a few simple steps (pun intended) to make your stairway and home safer, and prevent falls in the process.

Limit Upstairs Use

If it is possible to arrange a house to avoid having to climb stairs, do so. A stair fall can easily cause severe injuries.

Check the Carpet

Make sure that there is no carpet that’s sticking up or ruffled. If carpeting starts to become loose in a stairwell, tack it down or reinstall it completely.

Inspect Handrails Often

Loose handrails are of no use to you because you cannot trust them to hold your weight when you push on them. Inspect hand rails to make sure that they do not easily move in your hands and repair them as soon as you notice something loose.

Go Slowly

It’s not a race. Going a little slower on the stairs has the potential to save your life.

Repair Walkways

Even a little crack can cause a big problem. If you go out often, hire someone to repair any damage to walkways.

Keep Walkways Clean

Arrange to have leaves, snow, and ice removed from stairs and walkways. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months. Kitty litter is especially effective.

Because stairway accidents can cause severe injury and even death, building codes for stairs and ramps are justifiably very rigorous. Good design can substantially reduce the potential for mis-stepping by providing the means to retrieve our balance, but even the best design cannot eliminate falling hazards entirely. The need for proper design also applies to ramps.

Learn more about preventing falls with an automatic fall detection medical alert system here, or search online with hashtag #NoFalls.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Preventing Falls In The Home - 7 Simple Steps

Following safety rules in the home is very important for fall prevention. 

Keeping things neat, clean, and tidy can prevent a lot of falls. Here are some things to think about if you have trouble getting around.

Remove All Throw Rugs

Those throw rugs can catch on your toes and cause falls. If you’re in the kitchen a lot, consider putting in textured linoleum or thin carpeting.

Clean Spills Immediately

“I’ll get to it later.” Unfortunately, those ‘later’ things cause hazards for those who are walking around. Immediate cleaning means you don’t have to pay attention to them anymore.

Keep Everything Closed

Murphy’s Law says that if there’s a possibility that you can bump into it, it will be bumped into. Closing cabinets, drawers, and doors when they’re in the way takes only a second.

Brighten The Dark Corners

In larger houses, there are plenty of dark corners which can cause trouble. Setting up lights where you need them will not only brighten up the house, but brighten up your life.

Keep Clothes Organized

Store clothing, bed coverings, and other household items where you can comfortably reach them.

Get Help if you need it

If you find that something is heavier than you can lift, get assistance or reduce the load as much as you can.

Our goal is to help you to create a safe environment at home. We feel like education is key - that's why we provide this free fall prevention guide, and lots of other good ideas about independent living on our "Thrive!" blog or search using hashtag #NoFalls.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Top 3 Reasons For Falls Among The Elderly

Most falls are not because someone trips over something. 

Instead, they are caused by some problem with the body or the mind. Medications, vision problems, and a weak body are the main contributors to falls. Here’s what you need to know.

Medication interactions 

Certain medication have side effects that can make it difficult to walk around. Drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea are just a few examples that can happen. These effects can cause a fall, especially if a new medication has been added into the mix.

Drug interactions can also cause these effects. This is one reason why your doctor always wants to know all medications and supplements you’re taking. A drug interaction can cause side effects far worse than a single drug.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any drugs you’re taking, especially if you’re adding a new one. Take it easy the first few days to see how your body reacts to the drugs. Medical interactions should be closely monitored, and if there is an obvious bad reaction, the doctor should be immediately contacted.

Diminished vision 

Many people fall because they don’t have the depth perception or clarity of vision to know where an object is in the first place. Check your vision every single year and make sure that any prescriptions for glasses or contacts are up to date.

Another reason that people fall is that they forget that they still have on their reading glasses. Reading glasses magnify what’s in front of the reader, but they can cause problems when navigating.

Exercise levels 

Muscle mass decreases over time and this causes people to become weak. All people need to exercise. It can be enough just to stay active by regularly checking on the garden, walking out to the mailbox, or making a concerted effort to walk around the house. It has to be regular. Exercise makes people more flexible, stronger, and have more balance. A strong body can help prevent falls or make them less serious.

The amount of exercise you need may be much less than you think. If you’re exercise adverse, talk with your doctor to learn about how much you really need, and simple exercises you can do to keep your muscle mass and coordination.

Learn more about automatic fall detection medical alert systems here, or search online with hashtag #NoFalls.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Surprising Way To Cash In Your Life Insurance Policy Early

Seniors struggling to pay life insurance premiums have options, including selling their policy

senior citizens riding bicycles
If you're struggling to make ends meet in retirement, you're not alone. And when your income is limited and fixed, you do your best to cut out unnecessary expenses.

One expense that can be tough for some seniors to manage is the premiums on their life insurance policies. Perhaps your carrier raised your premium unexpectedly, maybe the costs from a health event have strained your budget or it could be that your retirement fund is just running low. If you feel your life insurance premiums are too expensive, you may decide you no longer need the policy.

Alternatives to surrendering a life insurance policy

Unfortunately, many seniors think their only option in this situation is to lapse or surrender the policy. In fact, each year seniors older than 70 lapse or surrender more than 710,000 life insurance policies, with a combined face value of more than $57 billion, according to the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA). However, many life insurance companies don't tell you about alternatives that may be more beneficial than simply surrendering the policy. For example:

  • You could maintain the policy through loans against its current value;

  • You might be able to seek an accelerated death benefit, allowing you to take some cash out now;

  • The policy may be convertible into a long-term care health insurance policy, or if it's a term policy you might be able to convert it into permanent life insurance;

  • Reducing the death benefit to a lower face value could lower the premiums, making the policy more affordable; or

  • You could assign the policy to an individual or a non-profit organization as a gift.

Another option to lapsing or surrendering the policy - one that can actually put the most amount of cash directly into your pocket - is to consider selling it through a life settlement transaction.

Selling a life insurance policy

Life insurance is personal property, so you can sell it just like any other property you own. When you decide to sell the policy to a third party - rather than surrendering it to the insurance company - you get more than the cash value, but less than the death benefit amount. The buyer of the policy takes on all future premiums and receives the death benefit when you pass away.

In order to qualify for a life settlement, you must be 65 or older with a life insurance policy that has a death benefit of at least $100,000. The amount of your settlement will depend on several factors, including:
woman gardening with medical alert pendant

  • The death benefit, which is the amount the buyer will receive when you pass away;

  • The amount in annual premiums that the buyer will pay; and

  • The number of years the buyer can expect to continue paying the premiums.

On average, a life settlement yields seniors seven times the amount of the policy's cash surrender value, LISA says, based on an analysis of a survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. In fact, 90 percent of seniors with lapsed policies say they would have considered selling it if they had known life settlement was an option, an Insurance Studies Institute survey found.

As most seniors prefer to live and age gracefully in their own homes, selling a life insurance policy can be a viable option, and potential alternative to a reverse mortgage.  Living independently at home is a goal of most seniors and their families, and is another good reason to have a medical alert system in the home.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Can This Rotator Cuff Procedure Live Up To The Hype?

New bioinductive rotator cuff procedure helps tendons heal

The rotator cuff is one of the most important parts of the shoulder, as it consists of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place and allow the body to lift the arm and reach for items. Unfortunately, rotator cuff injuries are the most common source of shoulder pain and disability, affecting more than 4 million Americans annually, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A rotator cuff injury can greatly reduce quality of life, as it makes daily activities painful and difficult to do.

Those who suffer from rotator cuff disease often avoid surgery to repair the tear because they hear about painful, lengthy postoperative rehabilitation and time away from work. In addition, traditional procedures have focused only on biomechanical repair of the tendon without addressing the underlying biology, which can result in tears progressing and re-tears in the rotator cuff tendon after an initial repair.

Download our free fall prevention guide and learn how to make your home safe and clutter free.

A new technology is now available that helps tendons heal by stimulating the growth of new tendon tissue. The Rotation Medical Bioinductive Implant, which is about the size of a postage stamp, is inserted through a small incision during a short, minimally invasive procedure. Surgical staples hold the implant in place until fibers and tendons of the rotator cuff grow into the implant. The first-of-its-kind implant can provide a range of potential benefits, including shorter rehabilitation, faster recovery, prevention or slowing of disease progression, healing of partial-thickness tears, and decreased risk of developing a subsequent tear.

For people like Starr Boykin, a company executive of Mobile, Alabama, the implant can be life changing. Boykin, who is also involved in competitive fishing tournaments, was recovering from rotator cuff surgery in her right shoulder when, in physical therapy, her left shoulder began to hurt from what turned out to be another rotator cuff tear. Despite multiple surgeries on her left shoulder, pain persisted for over a year.

"My doctor told me there was nothing else they could do, that I needed reverse shoulder replacement," Boykin says. "Being a professional fisherwoman and having already undergone serious shoulder surgeries, this really upset me. I got a second and then a third opinion, and the two other doctors told me the exact same thing."

After hearing about a physician in Florida who was using the Rotation Medical Bioinductive Implant, Boykin met with Dr. Christopher O'Grady at the Andrews Institute, who evaluated her case and told her shoulder replacement surgery was not her only option.

"Starr was a great candidate for the Bioinductive Implant because her injury wasn't a technical problem, it was a biology problem," Dr. O'Grady says. "The implant didn't just temporarily repair her rotator cuff, it completely healed the injury and gave her the ability to achieve functional range of motion more quickly than a traditional, more invasive surgical treatment."

Despite several previous failed rotator cuff surgeries, Boykin is making a full recovery and is back to competitive fishing.

"After the surgery I felt an immediate difference," Boykin says. "After six months, I was back to fishing in tournaments and paddling in my kayak. I'm so grateful for the Rotation Medical technology, which gave me full use of my arm and shoulder and has given me my life back."

Active seniors also benefit from mobile medical alert systems with GPS, as part of their busy lifestyle.  Combining a cellular medical alert system with GPS and 2-way talking pendant into a waterproof 2 ounce pendant, users can summon help at the press of a button anywhere there is AT&T Cellular coverage.  This helps folks get about their busy lives, with the peace of mind that help is just a button press away.

- Article Courtesy of BPT

Friday, March 31, 2017

New Traumatic Brain Injury Breakthrough Treatment

5 things you must know about this groundbreaking traumatic brain injury treatment for servicemen and women

hyperbaric oxygen chamber
When the nation’s servicemen and women serve a tour of duty overseas, many don’t return home the same.

Nearly 60 percent of servicemen and 50 percent of servicewomen experience at least one traumatic event during their service, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. These events have the potential to cause life-long complications.

Research shows the consequences of a traumatic event has the potential to impact a person's cognitive ability through traumatic brain injury (TBI), or to cause them to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Either of these conditions means that even when the service person’s tour is over, their struggles have just begun.

Download our free fall prevention guide and learn how to make your home safe and clutter free.

Fortunately for service people dealing with the effects of TBI and PTSD, new treatments are available. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is easing the pain for many servicemen and women through an increase in oxygen to combat problems ranging from complex disabilities and chronic infections to pain and neurological impairment.

If you’ve never heard of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, here are five things you need to know about this new treatment and how it is helping servicemen and women across the country.

  • The treatment is built on speed and oxygen. When a patient undergoes hyperbaric oxygen therapy, their body is exposed to a high amount of oxygen, carried through their body at a rapid pace. This alternative medicine therapy not only increases the amount of oxygen the body receives, but the purity of the oxygen as well. The increase of oxygen aides the patient’s body in the creation of new blood cells which supports the healing process.
  • In addition to supporting the healing process, it also combats stress. Research shows hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to alleviate stress on the body through cognitive rehabilitation, making it a natural treatment solution for servicemen and women suffering not only from external wounds, but from PTSD, TBI and depression as well.
  • The treatment process involves several “dives." Each hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment is called a dive and an individual can receive 20-40 dives in which oxygen is pumped into their specialized, sealed chamber. Each treatment lasts for up to one hour. Servicemen and women pursuing this treatment see the best results when these treatments are scheduled as close together as possible.
  • The risk of TBI varies depending on conditions. Many veterans of the United States’ campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered TBI because of blast related injuries. Research shows males outnumber females in TBI cases 2:1. Age also plays a roll in a person's likeliness to suffer TBI, and people ages 0-4, 15-19 and the elderly have a higher rate of suffering TBI than those outside of those age ranges. Substance abusers also stand a greater chance of suffering a TBI incident.
  • You can support treatment for servicemen and women. Veterans across the country need your help. The Purple Heart Foundation strives to make the transition home as smooth as possible for all veterans, which includes providing them the treatment they need for the challenges they face after being discharged.

medical alert system with automatic fall detection
Many who suffer from traumatic brain injury are often left alone while family members and caregivers tend to the business of the household.  A medical alert system is an inexpensive, valuable tool to allow caregivers some breathing room, while knowing their loved one can get help quickly if needed.  Automatic fall detection is a good optional feature for many with this condition.  

The Purple Heart Foundation is a nonprofit, Veteran Service Organization whose mission is to honor the sacrifice of military veterans and create a smooth transition for them from the battlefield to the home front. Nearly 90 percent of each cash donation made to the Purple Heart Foundation goes to support aspects of this mission statement including: hyperbaric oxygen treatment, the National Service Officer Program, the scholarship program, service dog programs and other rehabilitation or recreational programs aimed at improving the lives of veterans. To learn more about how you can support veterans returning from overseas, visit

-- Article Courtesy of BPC

Monday, March 13, 2017

Maximizing Your HSA Account

Use These Tips to get the most out of your HSA dollars

Millions of Americans with high-deductible health insurance plans rely on health savings accounts to help them manage the costs of health care. If you're among them, you know how important it is to maximize the value you get out of every HSA dollar.

If you don't yet have an HSA, you may qualify for one if you receive health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan with a high deductible. Individuals may qualify if their deductible is at least $1,300, and families may qualify with a deductible of at least $2,600, according to the IRS. With an HSA, you can deposit pre-tax dollars into the account to pay for certain health and medical-related expenses - up to $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family in 2017.

While there are approximately 17 million HSAs currently in use in the U.S., insurance industry watchers predict that number could rise significantly as the federal government again addresses health care reform, the Boston Globe reports.

You can maximize the value of your HSA in several ways, including:

  • If you're at risk for arterial or heart disease, you and your doctor may decide preventive screenings are in order. Screening proactively can help catch warning signs of trouble before a more serious problem develops. However, most insurers won't pay for preventive screening for arterial health.
  • You can use your HSA dollars to schedule vascular health screening through Life Line Screening. You don't need a doctor's referral to schedule a simple, safe and painless ultrasound to detect possible plaque buildup in arteries - a leading factor in stroke and heart disease. Life Line Screening tells you the price of the screening up front and offers appointments in convenient locations throughout communities. Visit to learn more and schedule an appointment.
  • The cost of a "life alert" type emergency medical alert system is an eligible medical expense.  Use your HSA or FSA to pay for your medical alert system.  Check with your provider first, as they may deem the medical alert system eligible when prescribed and/or supported by a physician statement.
  • Keeping track of HSA-eligible expenses can be challenging, but budgeting software can help. Numerous free programs are available online. Most HSA providers also offer online access and digital tools to help you monitor your account, track saving and spending, and better understand the tax impact of your contributions.
  • If your employer doesn't provide vision insurance, you can use HSA funds to pay for eye exams, corrective lenses and even Lasik surgery. Studies show regular vision care is an essential component of overall health, and helps not only preserve your eyesight and eyes, but can also help detect other serious health problems.
  • Only about half of American workers have dental insurance through their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those who do have dental insurance, it typically does not cover all expenses. Yet dental health is intrinsic to overall health. You can use HSA money to pay for dental care, including exams, X-rays, braces, dentures, fillings and oral surgery.
  • Smoking is one of the most damaging things you can do for your health, and your HSA dollars can help you kick the habit. Smoking cessation treatment is a qualified medical expense that can be paid for through health savings accounts. When you quit smoking, your body immediately begins to repair the damage caused by smoking, and you reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

"Smoking is associated with multiple chronic diseases, so quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health," says Dr. Andrew Manganaro, chief medical officer at Life Line Screening. To help people understand their personal risk, Life Line Screening offers a program called "6 For Life" that outlines an individual's risk for six chronic diseases and includes blood tests.

Although controlling your weight is another important factor in overall health, few health plans will cover any kind of weight loss program. However, a doctor-prescribed weight loss program aimed at treating a specific disease such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart disease can be paid for with HSA money.

Your health savings account comes with many benefits and cost savings and tax breaks are just two of them. More importantly, when used wisely, your HSA can help you achieve better health.

- Article courtesy of BPT