Monday, October 28, 2013

Life After A Stroke: Advice for physical and emotional recovery

If you or a loved one has survived a stroke, recovery depends largely on the severity of the brain damage. With love, support and patience, the journey toward a new normal can begin.

Did you know a stroke occurs every 40 seconds on average? About 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, according to the American Stroke Association.

A stroke is life changing for the patient as well as his or her support network. Some people make a full recovery, while others suffer from various disabilities. In addition to working closely with a doctor through a personalized recovery program, joining a support group is a great initial step.  Strokes are a top reason for pressing a medical alert button when symptoms begin.

When coping with the aftermath of a stroke, it can help to be surrounded by others with similar experiences. Some difficult parts of stroke rehabilitation may include:

Communication challenges

Difficulties communicating can be some of the most frustrating effects of stroke. Depending on where the brain is damaged, it's not uncommon to suffer partial or total loss of the ability to talk, read, write or understand what people say. It's important to be patient and stay positive.

Make it a goal to practice communicating at least once a day. Relax, take your time and use communication aids as necessary, like cue cards. Using fewer words paired with gestures or tone of voice can help streamline communication. Many people benefit from speech and language therapy.

Family and friends need to remember that improving communication skills engages stroke survivors so they feel more connected and less isolated, an important part of rehabilitation.

Physical movement

Getting out of the house and being able to move independently provides a sense of freedom during recovery. Many stroke survivors regain the ability to walk, but may suffer from side effects that make it more difficult. Foot drop is a common side effect, which means difficulty lifting the front of the foot when walking, so much so that it may drag, which can be a tripping hazard.

Foot drop may be a temporary or permanent condition caused by stroke. The good news is there are options to help. Vibration therapy provided through affordable products like the Step Sensor by Brownmed can help increase mobility and retrain muscles and nerves in the leg and foot to respond as they should while walking.

Emotional adjustment

When adjusting to life after a stroke, survivors often experience a flood of emotions. Grieving for loss of physical and mental abilities is normal and a healthy part of the adjusting process. But when normal sadness continues for extended periods, it can turn into depression and needs to be treated immediately by a mental health professional.

Stroke survivors also often feel anxiety. Extreme worry or fear can cause restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, poor concentration and irritability. Both depression and anxiety are common for stroke survivors. The good news is they can be treated, and there are many coping mechanisms, so be sure to ask your doctor.

Whether adjusting to physical impairments or the emotions of suffering from a major health scare, it's important to remain positive. Loved ones are a crucial part of rehabilitation and can provide support when it is needed most. It might take years to adjust to a new normal after a stroke, both for the victim and the families, but patience and love can help ensure a speedier recovery for everyone.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

5 Fall Lawn Care and Garden Tips To Do Before Winter Arrives

With the fall season in full swing, there's no better time to watch leaves change colors, enjoy a hayride with family and friends, and indulge in a cup of hot apple cider. 

But, did you know it's also the perfect time to prepare your backyard for winter?

Fall is an important time of year to give your lawn proper care, so it can survive the harsh winter months ahead. So before you put your tools in hibernation, consider these five lawn and garden projects to help your lawn flourish come springtime:

1. Leaf removal - During the fall, leaves cover your lawn in what seems like the blink of an eye. A leaf blower is an easy tool to use and can help you move all your debris to one place for quick cleanup. Keep in mind, it's best to either blow all leaves toward the center of your yard to create one big pile, or start at the edge of your lawn and blow leaves in the same direction.  Keeping walkways and steps clear of leaves is an important step in preventing falls so that you don't slip.

2. Restore soil - Add beneficial nutrients, soil bacteria and microorganisms to next year's garden by recycling pulled annuals, leaves, grass clippings, and leftover fruits and vegetables into an organic compost. Your homemade compost will help you get a jump-start on your spring lawn and garden efforts, and increase soil richness for plants and flowers.

3. Prune - Since trees and shrubs lose leaves in the fall, it is easier to spot and prune diseased or dying branches. To prevent disease, prune branches that grow back toward the center of the tree, or cross and rub against each other. However, do not remove unreasonably large branches since exposed stubs can cause health problems for trees and shrubs.

4. Lawn mulch - Give your lawn the strength it needs to survive the winter with nutrient-heavy mulch. An easy way to do this is by using a mulching lawn mower or a chipper shredder to mulch leaves and spread a thin layer over your lawn. The nutrients and organic matter absorbed into the ground will contribute to your lawn's overall strength and growth in the spring. Plus, mulching is great for preventing weeds, stopping erosion and compaction.

5. Weed control - Just like other plants, weeds prepare for winter by storing food in their roots. To remove stubborn weeds, pull or dig weeds out of the ground or use a homemade weed-control solution, such as five parts white vinegar, two parts water and one part dish soap, and then-reseed the spots to prevent regrowth.

Fall will be over before you know it, so get your yard ready for the cold days ahead by doing the legwork now. You'll be glad you did when spring is in full bloom.  And of course, make sure to wear your HOME & YARD Medical Alert Pendant when you're in the yard working...just in case!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to save big on last-minute vacations

Sometimes the vacation bug bites without much notice. 

If you find yourself craving a travel adventure in the near future, you might worry it will be too complicated or costly to plan without adequate time. But the truth is, sometimes last-minute trips offer the best opportunity to score big bargains, if you know where to find them.

There's no need to ignore your last-minute itch for travel. Try a few travel tips and planning strategies to ensure your trip is not only memorable and stress-free, but saves you cash, too.

1. Skip air travel and save at the pump

Last-minute plane tickets are costly, so for spontaneous trips, consider hitting the road instead. Pack up the car, RV or motorcycle and let the road be the gateway to your next great vacation. Download an app that tracks gas prices, like gasbuddy or Gas Guru -so you can always find the best price per gallon to cut down on fuel costs. Want better fuel economy? Improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

2. Uncover hidden gem locations

Popular tourist towns with massive crowds will always cost more than those hidden gems visited by fewer folks. Get destination inspiration on websites like With a focus on car, RV, boat and motorcycle travel, the site - created by Safeco Insurance - makes it easy to search for fun destinations and routes by geography, vehicle and tags. You'll find valuable content from authors and bloggers as well as everyday users passionate about travel.

3. Be flexible and ask for discounts

If you can be flexible with travel dates, you might be able to score a last-minute deal. Booking discounts for seniors from national shops, restaurants and travel companies too!
accommodations for weekdays rather than weekends will save you cash, and often there's more availability last-minute. If you know you want to travel in the near future, call hotels and campgrounds and see if they offer discount rates for open rooms/sites. Often rates are reduced 24 to 48 hours prior, but you need to ask. For hotels, a discounted room is better than a vacant room. For you, a fantastic deal awaits. Check out sites like, or  Make sure you bring this list of

4. Plan activities en route

Getting there is half the fun when you plan stops along the way. When you're short on time, go online to map your route and discover unique places to stop along the road to your final destination. For example, LiveLifeLocal lets you map your route and suggests nearby activities. To help organize and plan your stops along the way, you can add your preferred activities to a "collection" on your online vacation portfolio. It's a great way to quickly research and organize a last-minute vacation, plus it is free. Just add a title and save it for easy access, then share adventures on your favorite social media sites and make all your friends jealous.

5. Package and save

When it comes to saving money, package deals are a great way to ease a tight budget. Can you bundle activities together and purchase all your tickets for a deep discount? Does your hotel offer any freebie activities to local attractions along with a reservation? Always ask about possible discounts and packaged savings so you can get the best deals throughout your last-minute trip.

Give in to the wanderlust and take that last-minute trip with confidence. Whether you're hitting the road solo or bringing the whole family along, a few simple strategies will ensure a trip to remember without breaking the bank.  And remember to bring your HOME & AWAY Medical Alert System with GPS with you in the event you need help while you're off exploring the country!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

5 Tips for Fall Prevention for Seniors

Older people are at an increased risk for suffering a fall. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, over 33 percent of adults who are over the age of 65 fall each year and 20,400 people died from a fall-related injury in 2009. Some of the common injuries as a result of fall are lacerations, head trauma or hip fractures. The good news is that there are a number of things that can be done to prevent a fall from occurring. The following precautionary tips can help seniors prevent falling:

Exercise Regularly
Exercising is one of the best things that you can do to prevent yourself from falling. It helps increase your balance, coordination, strength and flexibility. You should engage in low-impact exercise most days out of the week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Tai chi, swimming and walking are examples of low-impact exercise. Additionally, your doctor may recommend that you participate in physical therapy. A physical therapist can create a custom exercise program for you.

Understand the Effects of Your Medication
There are a number of medications that can increase your risk of falling. Certain drugs can lower your blood pressure and cause you to feel dizziness and/or confused. Some medications can interact with other meds and produce unpleasant side effects. That is why you should make an appointment with your doctor and discuss the medications that you are using and be aware of its side effects.

Get Your Vision & Hearing Checked
You should get your vision and hearing checked at least once a year. You may need to get glasses or have your current prescription changed. If you think you hearing is weak, getting a hearing device would help you better understand your surroundings. You will be less likely to suffer a fall if your vision and hearing is good. You should also keep your house well-lighted and the walkways clear. You will need to put night lights in your bathroom, bedrooms and hallway.

Use Assistive Devices
There are several devices that can help make it easier for you to get around your home. This includes things such as canes, walkers and custom-made shoes. You may also want to consider getting a medical alert device to alleviate your fear of falling down and give you piece of mind. . If you fall, then the only thing that you will have to do is push a button. Emergency personnel will be promptly  respond to your request and sent to your home.

Make Changes in Daily Lifestyle
As you grown older, the daily activities that seemed effortless earlier could feel more strenuous. You can feel stronger and more energetic by eating a more balanced diet, drinking more water and less alcohol, supplementing with the right vitamins and minerals. You could also ask a family member or hire a professional to help you with bathing, eating, dressing and other daily activities as a secondary precaution.

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury death for senior citizens. Fortunately, most of the falls that occur each year can be prevented with these 5 simple tips. Do you have any other tips on fall prevention that you would like to share with us? Comment in the section below to tell us about it. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

HOME & AWAY GPS Medical Alert System Review

The HOME & AWAY System is a medical alert system with cellular GPS location technology, which gives the owner freedom to move around easily anywhere in the United States. 

The system comes with mobile device, a cradle charger and an additional medical alert button with the option to choose between wrist button or neck pendant. The mobile GPS device has satellite technology and works with the reliable AT&T Wireless cellular network that provides coverage across the country. It also has location mapping available which lets the emergency responders in your location to quickly respond to your request.

When you press the button in an emergency, you’ll be immediately connected with an EMT trained monitoring agent who will immediately know your history and background to help you with your needs in a timely manner. Unlike calling 911 from a cell phone, our monitoring center agents will know who you are, where you are, and whom to contact on your behalf.

home and away GPS medical alert system

The list of main features of the HOME & AWAY GPS Medical Alert System include:

  • Medical Alert System includes mobile device, charger and pendant
  • 24x7 monitoring
  • EMT Trained monitoring experts on the phone
  • Coverage in all 50 states
  • 30 day risk free trial
  • Lifetime price guarantee
  • No long term contract
  • No activation fees 

The mobile unit is small and lightweight and comes with a carrying case. The wrist or neck pendant button is easy to wear and is waterproof. The mobile medical alert device has a 2 way voice communicator and can be activated by pressing the large emergency button, or by pressing the wrist/pendant button up to 600 feet away from the mobile device.  For example, you may be in the shower and need help – so you would press the waterproof button you are wearing on your wrist or around your neck, and it would signal the mobile device while it is charging in another part of the home.  The voice range is approximately 30 feet away from the mobile unit to be heard.  If the monitoring center agents can’t hear you, or you are unable to talk, they will follow a pre-set protocol to call a neighbor, family member, or emergency services. 

When you purchase the medical alert system with Medical Care Alert, there are no long term contracts or activation fees. We have 3 payment plans you can choose from, the lowest starting at $36.62 a month. All the plans include 24x7 monitoring and free spouse monitoring (may require additional equipment, call for details). 

Check out what real customers are saying about this unit:

“I am 87 years old and very healthy and independent. However, my beloved family and friends have been after me for several years to order one of these life saving devices. I have to admit, the unit does give me peace of mind. Yours is the only one we found out about that has an "outside" monitor as well. You have a marvelous product that will certainly be of service to many senior people. Thank you again for your kindness.”
Elizabeth F from Escondido, CA

“I have my Medical Alert activated and am thrilled I have it.  I don't have to worry when I walk my dog at night anymore......”
Janet from New Hampshire

If you are looking for a medical alert system for someone who is active, likes to be independent and on-the-go, then Medical Care Alert’s HOME & AWAY system is the right solution for you.  If you have any questions or would like to speak with an expert, feel free to call us at 1-855-272-1010.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

7 Safe Home Medication Storage Tips

Allergy season is behind us and before flu season strikes, now is the time to clean out your medicine cabinet and brush up on medication consumption and storage tips. 

A recent data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that almost 50 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug per month.

"Many of us keep multiple medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, in the house," says JeQuithia Sims, pharmacy technician program chair at Everest College in Arlington, Texas. "But when stored or consumed incorrectly, medication can cause unexpected consequences."
Indeed, many medical alert emergency button presses are made because medications were taken incorrectly - either at the wrong time or in the wrong dosage.  

Everest campuses across the country offer a pharmacy technician program that prepares students, through technical and practical training, for careers in aiding licensed pharmacists. Here Sims shares 10 pharmaceutical best practices to keep in mind when organizing the medicine cabinet.

Storing your medication

  • Store in a cool, dry place - While it varies by manufacturer, this rule stands true for most medications. A few simple storage locations might be in a medicine cabinet, on top of a dresser or on a designated shelf. If you have children, be sure to keep medications up high and out of reach.
  • Keep away from light - Light can degrade medication more quickly than intended, so it's important you don't store medication in light-filled places such as a windowsill or under powerful indoor lighting.
  • Honor the expiration date - Whether it's an over-the-counter or prescription medication, old pills degrade over time and can cause a bacteria imbalance when consumed. Most medication expires after one year, so use this as a rule of thumb when revisiting old pills. Before picking up that 500-count bottle of pain reliever because it's a "better deal," ask yourself if your household will consume all 500 pills that year. If not, it might be safer to grab the smaller bottle, and re-stock yearly.
  • Do not flush - When disposing of expired, discolored, or unused prescription medications, be mindful of proper disposal practices by throwing medications away in the household trash or through your community's medication disposal program. One of the easiest options is to take your unused or expired medications to your pharmacy and they will dispose of them properly. Flushing or pouring medication down the drain harms the environment, as sewage systems are not capable of removing medicines from the water released into lakes, rivers and oceans.

Using your medication

  • Note the warning label - Even if you've taken the medication for years, it's always a good idea to look at the warning label for consumption directions, as your doctor may have altered your dosage or the manufacturer slightly changed the consumption directions.
  • Consuming liquids is not the same as consuming water - If the label instructs you to consume with water, be careful not to consume with other beverages. Juices and acidic drinks can cause the medication to break down faster than normal and hot drinks, such as coffee or tea, cause coated pills to melt too quickly in the stomach - not the intestine, where it's intended to break down. This may produce side effects as harmful as stomach ulcers.
  • Don't lose the dropper - It might seem the same to use a household spoon with liquid medication, but the dropper or spoon provided by the pharmacy has been measured specifically for your intended dosage. Research shows that silverware teaspoons can vary between one to nine milliliters dependent upon design, making them an unreliable tool for medication.
Remember, your pharmacist is your friend, and is an expert. When in doubt about the safety of consuming a medication for any given reason, your pharmacist is there to answer your questions.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BBB Senior Scene Program Sponsored By Medical Care Alert

We're proud to sponsor a new program from the Better Business Bureau to help protect seniors from scams and fraud.

Medical Care Alert / American Response Technologies BBB Business Review Unfortunately, many prey upon seniors and try to scam them out of money or talk them into services and products they don't need.  We're proud of our A Rating with the Better Business Bureau, and appreciate the opportunity to stand strong with the BBB and other concerned businesses to protect our clients, friends and neighbors.

Read the full press release below - more to come soon!

The Better Business Bureau Unveils the Senior Scene

 New BBB Program Informs & Empowers Seniors in Eastern Michigan & the UP

Southfield, MI – October 1, 2013 The Better Business Bureau Serving EasternMichigan (BBB) today announced the BBB Senior Scene – a program designed to keep seniors informed of scams and deceptive business practices in the marketplace and to empower them to act as community advocates against fraud.  

Every year, scam artists bilk seniors out of billions of dollars because the senior demographic is generally considered more trusting and is perceived to be easier to persuade. Also, seniors may not be aware that they have fallen for a scam until it’s too late and may avoid telling anyone for fear of losing independence by appearing so vulnerable.

“Our goal is to inform seniors and about the issues that impact them and to give them tools to deal with fraud and scams,” said Melanie Duquesnel, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan. “Through our programs, seniors can learn about and connect to the resources of the Better Business Bureau and other agencies to become more informed in today’s marketplace.”

Attorney Ken Gross, has committed his company Thav Gross and The Financial Crisis Talk Radio & Television Show’s support as a premier sponsors of the BBB’s Senior Scene. Said Gross, “We are excited to join with and support the BBB in its efforts to thwart deceptive practices and unlawful actions that are directed at our most cherished citizens – our elders.”

Joining Thav Gross as premiere sponsors of the Senior Scene are ElderLiving Construction, Levy Tax Professionals, and Right At HomeIn-Home Care & Assistance. Also sponsoring the program is EverDryWaterproofing of Southeastern Michigan and Medical Care Alert.

The Senior Scene Program includes:

Senior Scam Prevention Seminars

Attendees will learn:
·         The red flags of investment fraud and other scams
·         The most recent and most prevalent scams in the market
·         How to avoid becoming a victim of a scam
·         The dos and don’ts of dealing with aggressive sales persons and scammers
·         How to report scams and what to do if you are scammed
·         Important resources for seniors
The BBB will also provide training for caregivers so that they can recognize the warning signs when their loved one is potentially becoming a victim of a scam and tips on what they can do to help.

Any group, organization or business interested in a training session can contact the BBB at or 248-799-0305.

The Senior Brigade

Many savvy seniors are already advocates for themselves, their friends and their neighbors. The BBB is currently recruiting these seniors for the Senior Brigade to become the eyes and ears of their communities and to help the BBB fight scams and fraud targeting the elderly and other consumers.

Participants will act as a consulting team for the BBB, providing information and insights into the scams and bad business practices that their peers are facing. They can also work with the BBB’s Manager of Advertising Review to call attention to questionable or misleading advertisements in print and online.

Seniors interested in participating in the Senior Brigade should contact the BBB at or 248-799-0326.

The Senior Siren

New scams are cropping up daily and it’s hard for even the most connected consumer to stay informed. The Senior Siren will keep readers on top of the latest scams and bad business practices and give them tips on how to avoid them through a monthly newsletter and timely alerts. The Senior Siren will also keep the community up to date on the activities of and findings from The Senior Brigade.

Anyone interested in receiving The Senior Siren, including both seniors and caregivers, can contact Lisa Dilg at or 248-799-0326 or subscribe at

Senior Scene Sponsoring Organizations

The BBB is currently recruiting sponsors for the Senior Scene. Sponsors will receive recognition and publicity in print and online promotions, social media, media, newsletters, in-person seminars and more. Businesses that serve this demographic will enjoy the targeted marketing opportunities that this will afford them. Any business or organization interested in sponsoring the Senior Scene should contact Lisa Dilg at or 248-799-0326.


About The Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan
The Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting trust in the marketplace by assisting in the protection of consumers and businesses from fraud and unethical business practices. In addition to its recognized dispute resolution services, the BBB maintains business reviews on the customer service history of more than 90,000 local businesses and provides consumer education materials on numerous topics. The BBB provides its services free to the public and its service territory stretches across Eastern Michigan from Ann Arbor through Metropolitan Detroit, Lansing, Flint, upward to Alpena, and covers the entire Upper Peninsula of the state.

About Medical Care Alert:
Michigan based Medical Care Alert's "Help At The Push Of A Button" medical alert monitoring service provides independence and peace of mind for thousands of seniors and their families in all 50 states. Systems cost around $1 day, with nothing to buy and no long term contracts. The company has an A+ rating with the BBB and with Angie's List, receiving the Angie's List Super Service Award three years running. Learn more at