Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When it is time for parents to give up their finances

As a caretaker, you have been charged with making sure that your loved ones are protected physically, financially, and mentally from the pitfalls of aging.   

Just like you’ve insisted that your parent wears their medical alert devices, you might find yourself in a position where you need to take over your loved one’s finances.

When do you need to take over your parents’ or loved ones’ finances?

This can be an incredibly awkward conversation to have, but there comes a point where it becomes absolutely necessary.  You are keeping their best interests at heart, just like when you had them start wearing senior medical alert systems.

Here are some of the warning signs that it’s time for your parents to give up the financial reins:

  • Living outside of their budget with unnecessary purchases.
  • Frequent complaints about not having any money.
  • Not able to balance their checkbook or check the balance on the credit card.
  • Starting to gamble, or gamble more often.
  • Creditors are calling more often and your loved one is playing it off.
  • They don’t seem to have the ability to comprehend cash and the value of things.

Tips for Having the Conversation

When you’re faced with the prospect of having to take over your parents’ finances, making and following through on the decision can be heartbreaking for the both of you.  It’s never easy, but, like having senior medical alert systems, it’s something which must be done.

Tell your parents it’s that time

Some children of older parents are just that lucky to have had the parents or loved ones bring the subject up already.  They will tell you to tell them that it’s time, and they’ll hopefully respect that decision that you made in being their bellwether.

Be Incredibly Respectful

You’re unfortunately going to be the messenger, and there’s always a bit of resentment afforded to the messenger – even when you’re giving accurate advisement.  They’re still your loved ones, and in some cases they’re still your hero.  They deserve to have respect and dignity in that conversation.

Like Medical Alert Devices, this is to ensure the Future

What you’re doing is taking the reins so that the hemorrhaging of money can stop.  You’re offering a different solution to the one that they possibly had, one which will ensure that they have money in the bank.  You’re really only concerned for their well-being, after all.  

Tell Them You Want Them to Have Everything

You love your parents, and you want them to have the best care, the best stuff, and the world handed to them on a silver platter.  You want them to have a similar safety like they have with their senior medical alert systems, and taking over their finances is just one way to get them there.

Just because you’re taking over doesn’t mean the World Will Change

As humans, we’re not fond of change.  Our loved ones didn’t like that first day when they wore medical alert devices.  If they’re independent sorts, they’re probably not going to be very fond of giving you the control. To start, try leaving them as much control as you can, which might help them through the process. Then watch their spending closely and show them where things are going wrong.  
Nobody wants to take control of their loved ones’ financial lives, but it’s something very necessary to take it over before disaster strikes.  These are the decisions, like the decision to get medical alert devices or senior medical alert systems, that you need to make to ensure your loved ones’ well-being and future satisfaction.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Questions to Ask Before Going on Vacation

Staying fit and healthy during vacation is first and foremost on every senior’s mind.  

For those who have health and mobility issues, there are questions that need to be answered before setting foot on the plane or slipping behind the wheel.
  1. Will my GPS medical alert system follow me where I go?  Do I need to do anything special when I get to my destination to make sure it works?

The medical alert system that you have should work all around the country.  As long as you have the charging station and the devices with you, you’re okay.  Before you leave, call your provider to let them know where you’re going.

  1. Do I have enough meds for the trip?  

It’s important to have enough medication to last through the trip, or have a place where you can get them along the way. It’s best to keep those prescriptions refilled, as sudden drops in dosage can cause unpredictable negative effects.  Make sure that you’ve got your medical alert system pendant with you in case of an emergency or fall.
  1. If a medical emergency does happen, will my care be covered by my insurance provider?

None of us anticipates having an accident happen while we’re on vacation, but they do happen.  Along with your GPS medical alert system, it is also beneficial to carry along a little extra cash just in case something completely unexpected happens.

  1. Am I going to visit people, or am I taking this alone?  

It’s always good to have someone with you while you’re traveling – not only for companionship, but to ensure your safety on the trip.

Being out on your own and vacationing independently is wonderful, but sometimes it’s good to have that little extra boost of safety on the trip.  It’s like having the safety of the medical alert system nearby.

  1. Do I need to arrange for health services while I’m on vacation?

Sometimes, we all need that little extra bit of care.  If your insurance provider works with a national home health services group, they can give you care during the trip.  While a GPS medical alert system gives that touch of protection, having trained medical personnel standing by can also be of great service.

  1. Do I have any mobility limitations?
Just like calling your GPS medical alert system provider before leaving, having the arrangements for any mobility issues made before the trip will benefit you far more than ‘springing’ it on people.  The value of planning is not lost on people, and they will do what they can to make your vacation the best possible.
It’s easy to travel around the country with your medical alert system.  That gives you the peace of mind while the wonderful scenery can refresh you and make you feel like a new person.  We hope that your vacation is the best that you’ve ever had!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Benefits of Gardening for the Senior Citizen

One of the greatest ways to prevent falls is to stay active around the home and the yard.  

Keeping physical fitness up is crucial with age, and one great way to stay active outside is gardening. Gardening not only keeps the blood pumping, but you can eat the fruits of your labor.  People of any age or level of mobility can start a garden given the right setup. Here are some more of the benefits that you might reap by starting a garden.
From starting a garden to getting it weeded every day, a garden needs constant tending to make the most of it. All that motion adds up to exercise, whether it’s repeatedly bending over in a wheelchair, crouching down to dig up a weed, or building raised beds. You’ll get a healthier body and a sharper mind.  However, safety first! Make sure to wear your medical bracelet in case of an accident.
There’s something about a home-grown tomato that brings a smile to my face.  They just taste better for some reason.  Maybe it’s knowing exactly where it came from.  You or your loved one might find that same smile while they’re playing in the dirt.   Making the decision to start a garden might be just as good as the one you or your loved one made to wear a medical bracelet in terms of building independence.
Saving Money
When you’re growing your own produce, you don’t have to go to the store to pick up a tomato, a cucumber, or a pepper for dinner.  Start by picking your favorite foods and see if your area can grow them.  In a few short months, you’ll have just what you needed.  
Improved Diet
How many of us could benefit from a better diet?  Fresh is always better, and leafy greens are much better than prepackaged food any day.  Having fresh food on the table means fewer trips to the grocery store, more nutritional value in your diet, and less usage of your medical bracelet.
Better Mood
Getting out in the sun and working in the garden helps brighten one’s day.  There is a sense of pride combined with a sense of accomplishment – a feeling which cannot be matched.  Having a part of something beautiful like growing things can bring a smile to one’s face.
Gardening is an amazing way to get you or your loved ones out and about.  The medical bracelet will be well within its range so help can be called at a moment’s notice.  Bending down, rolling one’s hips, moving arms, and more all promote good health. A little sweat never hurt anyone.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Truth About VoIP Phone Lines and Medical Alert Systems

Your new VoIP phone line may sound OK, but is it powerful enough for a medical alert system to use in an emergency?

If you're like many Americans, your phone or cable company may have changed the way your home phone system works.  Many customers are surprised to learn they no longer have Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) that uses copper wire coming in to the home.  Instead, they now have a digital phone line that uses the internet to transfer voice, using a new protocol called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).  Since your number didn't change, and you are using the same phone line as before, you may not have even noticed a difference.

But there is a big difference, especially if you have a home alarm or a medical alert system.

Without going into all the technical specifications, here are the main differences between your old POTS-style phone service, and the new digital VoIP phone service:


  • Analog transmission, capable of transmitting both voice and data
  • Works during a power outage because electricity runs through the copper phone line
  • Being discontinued in many parts of the country, and POTS copper line networks are not being rebuilt when damaged in a natural disaster like a hurricane.
  • Expensive - one reason it's being phased out.
  • Fairly consistent quality of service among providers
  • Digital transmission, capable of both voice and data
  • Requires internet access
  • Inexpensive, and capable of lots of features at low/no cost like voice mail, three-way calling, call forwarding, fax, receive calls on a computer or tablet, etc
  • Often bundled with Cable TV and Internet services
  • Requires a battery backup if power is lost
  • If the internet is down, your VoIP line is down
  • Quality of service can vary during peak usage times, and depending on the usage in your neighborhood
  • Wide range of quality of service among providers
  • VoIP is provided through a Modem (box where your phone is connected).  When service is switched from POTS to VoIP, you may lose connectivity in the other phone jacks installed throughout the home.  

VoIP and Alarm Systems and Medical Alert Systems

Home alarm systems and Medical Alert Systems transmit DATA over the phone lines to the monitoring center.  This is what establishes a connection and allows the monitoring center to know WHO and WHERE you are, and access your profile to know how to respond in an emergency.

VoIP phone lines generally can transmit VOICE at a quality level that is acceptable, but DATA is a different matter.  Generally speaking, if you are using a high quality, national provider of VoIP service like AT&T, Comcast, Century Link, TimeWarner, Verizon and others you should be fine.  However, due to low signal quality, VoIP phone service from providers like Magic Jack, OOMA and Vonage shouldn't be used with a medical alert system. In fact, these phone providers DO NOT recommend using their services with any medical alert systems. So, while you may be able to call across the country using one of these bargain-priced VoIP phone providers, you should NOT count on them to work with an alarm or medical alert system.

Examples of medical alert systems that work with both POTS and VoIP include the HOME Medical Alert System and the HOME & YARD Medical Alert System from Medical Care Alert.

How Do I Know If My VoIP Phone Line will Work With A Medical Alert System?

VoIP Test
If you have a VoIP phone line, please click this link to use the VoIP Testing Tool  to determine if your VoIP phone line can support a medical alert system.  Your results should show in the top part of the graph labeled "radio quality".  If not, contact your provider and tell them you are connecting a medical alert device and need them to boost your signal strength.  If they cannot do this, find another provider.