Archives

Medical-Alert Devices May Not Work as Well as You Think

How to Choose a Personal Medical Alert Device

Consumer’s Checkbook is an online and print resource published by the Center for the Study of Services, which is a nonprofit consumer organization. They reviewed eleven different medical-alert devices, and some got bad reviews.

Medical-Alert Devices May Not Work as Well as You Think

Medical-Alert Devices May Not Work as Well as You Think

 

Consumer’s Checkbook guesses that more than three million consumers, mostly seniors, use medical-alert devices. The devices were tested two hundred and ninety times over two weeks. Consumer’s Checkbook found that the response time for these panic devices took too long.

The average time was over a minute, and some companies took more than three minutes to respond. While that may not seem like much, remember when these are being used, a person is injured and needs help. Three minutes can mean life or death, depending on the situation.

Plus, there is a lot of waiting involved with these devices already. You have to wait for the monitoring service to pick up, then wait for them to understand your situation, and then wait for them to call 911. Finally, you have to wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Consumer’s Checkbook also found that these medical-alert devices have a lot of false alarms. The monitoring services don’t have the proper training to get the right information and alienate emergency services due to false alarms.

Out of the devices tested, GreatCall Lively Mobile is recommended. It’s easy to use, reliable, and quick.

How to Pick a Good Medical Alert Advice

 

Consumer’s Checkbook suggests a few things to make sure you pick the right device.

Avoid Contracts

Never use a service that requires a contract in case a better model comes around.

Ask for a Trial

You won’t know how well a device works until you try it. No one wants to pay for something that doesn’t work. Check to see if the device works with your lifestyle and is comfortable.

Use the trial to test out the service. Press the panic button throughout different times of the day on different days to see how fast the call center responds. If they take longer than thirty seconds, move onto another device.

Fill Out Your Customer Profile

Make sure your profile is filled out as soon as possible. It’s essential to have what kind of drugs your taking, how much, how often, and any conditions that you have. This helps the call center operators work faster, which means you get help faster.

Read more here.

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

Bruises are a common part of life, and often times we wonder where they came from. As you get older, bruises can be a sign of health problems and need to be paid attention to. How can you tell the difference between having thinner skin due to age and having a problem with your body?

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

 

What causes bruises? They form when an impact breaks your small blood vessels near the skin’s surface. The discoloration is from the blood leaking out of the vessels. Once the blood is reabsorbed into the body, the bruise goes away.

Bruises can be a sign of a serious condition like:

  • Low levels of platelets
  • Abnormally functioning platelets
  • Problems with proteins that help blood clot

Medications can also cause you to bruise more quickly because they reduce your body’s ability to clot blood.

There’s not much you can do to treat a bruise. Sometimes you can apply a topical cream to help with sensitivity or use ice. It takes time for the body to reabsorb the blood, so you’ll have to be patient.

Make sure to see your doctor if you have any concerns.

Read more here.

The Government is Taking on Robocalls to Protect Seniors

Government is Taking on Robocalls

House lawmakers have announced a new bipartisan bill that will fight against robocalls. It’s not just that robocalls are annoying, but that many seniors fall prey to scams from these calls. That’s why the government is taking on robocalls.

Government is Taking on Robocalls

Government is Taking on Robocalls

 

The bill, called Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, hopes to outlaw a wide array of robocall practices that legitimate businesses and scammers use and will allow the government to give harsher punishments to callers who ignore the law.

Robocalls are not only frustrating, but they can overwhelm communication lines. There are five million robocalls a month. It’s not just the general public that has to deal with them; hospitals have reported an increase in robocalls too.

Plus, a lot of personal information is stolen every year from these calls. This is how many seniors end up getting scammed.

The bill would look into large telecom giants like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile and have them implement new tech to authenticate if calls are real or spam.

Read more here.

Wells Fargo Bank Branch Manager Admits to Stealing from Seniors

Wells Fargo Bank Branch Manager Admits to Stealing from Seniors

Keeping track of aging loved one’s finances is so important. They are vulnerable to scams and individuals who want to steal all their money. A perfect example is a bank manager recently admitted to stealing from seniors. He took more than $500,000 from seniors after gaining their trust.

Wells Fargo Bank Branch Manager Admits to Stealing from Seniors

Wells Fargo Bank Branch Manager Admits to Stealing from Seniors

 

Fetehi Mohammed looked at which customers had enough money, and that wouldn’t notice his unauthorized withdrawals. He got customers to sign blank withdrawal slips and lied to bank tellers, saying he obtained a cashier’s check for the account holders.

He used his position to get close to elderly customers and offer them “help” with their banking. The cashier’s check was made payable to Navy Federal Credit Union, where he and his wife opened an account in 2014. Though he only used the account.

Before he started scamming seniors, he only had $193.96 in his credit union account. After two years of the scheme, he had 3,233.37.

He faces up to ten years in prison after admitting to one count of felony bank fraud and one count of engaging in monetary transactions.

Read more here.

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer for Seniors

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer

The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in a house for seniors. Slippery floors, getting in and out of showers, and getting on and off the toilet can be opportunities for injuries. Some products can help make your bathroom safer.

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer

 

These products range from products for your shower to your toilet to your bathroom floor.

1. Toilet Night Light

It may seem silly, but this could prevent trips during the night. Having a light inside your toilet can keep you from tripping without having to shock yourself awake with bright lights. It has a built-in motion sensor that detects body heat and will light up the room.

There is a bit of fun with this product because it comes in 16 different colors. It also has five different brightness levels.

It has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon.

2. Elevated Toilet Seat with Arms

This seat will help make getting up and down easier due to not only being higher but coming with arms as well. It’s easy to clean and put together. If the arms aren’t needed, they are removable. It has a weight limit of 300 pounds.

It has a 3.9-star rating on Amazon.

3. Toilet Rail Grab Bar Safety Frame

Here is another way to make getting up and down easier. This product is different because it’s more than just arms. It’s an entire frame that surrounds the toilet, similar in style to a walker. It even has a basket for magazines or books on the side.

It’s made of steel to make it sturdy and durable, and it has slip resistant pads so that it doesn’t move when someone uses it. It has comfortable grips for users.

It has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon.

4. Bath Step with Handle

Getting in and out of the tub/shower can be a potential hazard. This step makes it a little easier. By raising the body, it makes the step to get over a tub smaller and gives you more control. It has a non-slip grip platform floor and a locked in safety handrail for added support and balance.

It has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon.

5. Non-Slip Bath Mat

Getting out of the shower can be just as dangerous as getting in. Getting a non-slip bath mat is a way to stay safe. This mat, in particular, features memory foam for extra comfort. It’s machine washable which makes it easy upkeep. It comes with eight different color options. The bottom of the mat is lined with long-lasting PVC dots to stop it from moving.

It has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.

6. Grab Bars

Grab bars will be your best friend and don’t need much of an explanation. You can put them on any wall, and it will be support for balance. This particular grab bar can handle up to 500 pounds once secured.

This bar has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon.

7. Bath Seat

Some people may not be able to stand long enough to take a shower due to balance issues or muscle weakness. Using a shower seat will help prevent slips.

This seat is lightweight but durable. It has a padded seat, and the back is detachable for easy cleaning. The chair has non-slip material for safety as do the legs for extra security. It also has drainage holes for water to escape. It has handles for helping people get up and down.

It has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon.

8. Shower Bench

Have everything you need right at your fingertips with a shower bench. Have your washcloth, soap, and any other essential needs all in one spot.

This bench weighs less than 5 pounds and can hold up to 300 pounds. It has rubber stops to keep it from moving or scratching your tub. It’s easy to attach to your tub. Relax and have everything you need while you shower.

It has a 3.9-star rating on Amazon.

9. Anti-Slip Mat

This is essential to make your bathroom safer. Having a mat to cover your floor will keep you from falling because the tub floor is slippery.

This mat, in particular, comes in 16 different colors. It has suction cups to keep it stuck to the tub floor. It’s antibacterial, mildew resistant, BPA free, non-toxic, phthalate free, latex free and has no smell. It’s even machine washable.

It has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon.

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

Government is Taking on Robocalls

We’ve talked a lot about scams targeting seniors, but not much on how to protect them. Sadly, seniors are prime targets for con artists. This is because they are easy to confuse and aren’t as connected to the world as younger adults. What you might think is an obvious scam, a senior could take seriously. Here are 10 ways to protect you and your loved ones from scams.

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

 

1. Be Wary of “Emergency” Calls

One of the biggest scams involves a senior’s loved one being in an emergency. This is to pressure the senior and cause them panic. Attempt to get a phone number to call back and check the whereabouts and safety of your loved one who’s in danger. It’s a scam if they refuse to give you either.

2. Protect Your Identity

Never, never, give out your Social Security number, Medicare, and financial account info over the phone.

3. Don’t Answer the Phone

If you don’t know the phone number, don’t answer it.

4. Don’t Confirm Personal Information

Try not to say yes to any question asked of you when asked about personal info. The calls may be recorded, and your “yes” can be used to buy purchases you don’t want.

5. Don’t Press Any Numbers

Don’t do it even to stop calls. It can increase the number of robocalls you get. It shows scammers that they found an active number.

6. Change Your Voicemail

Change the message so that it doesn’t reveal your name or other personal info. If you want a legitimate caller to know they called you, you can leave your number in the message.

7. Don’t Return Calls that Claim to Be From the Authorities

Places like the IRS, Social Security Administration, bank, or local police or sheriff’s department usually don’t just leave a voicemail. If you think the call is legitimate, don’t call the number left on the voicemail, instead, look up the number to see if it matches.

8. Do Not Call Registry

You can register both your landline and cellphone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

9. Report Robocalls

You can report unwanted calls with the FTC by phone at (888) 382-1222 or (877) 382-4357 or online.

10. Use FCC Tips

The FCC has tips on how to stop unwanted calls.

Read more here.

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

Be Wary of Scams involving the Coronavirus

We talked about scams before, but that was when they were spread all over the country, now scammers are coming after seniors in NH. Seniors are the perfect target for scammers, especially if they have any cognitive decline. It’s easy for scammers to confuse seniors and play on their fears.

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

 

The “grandparent scam,” which we’ve talked about before in our article about different types of scams, have been making the rounds in NH. As a refresher, the grandparent scam is when someone tries to trick a senior into believing someone they loved is in jail or kidnapped and needs money. The money can come as a wire transfer or even gift cards.

To make it seem real, con artists use technology that is recordings of their grandchild’s voice.

In a different version of the scam, the scammers themselves pretend to be a senior’s loved ones. They will claim that their voice changed because they broke their nose.

In New Hampshire, the top scams are unsolicited phone calls and debt collection scams.

To learn more about senior scams check out our articles:

Read more about the NH scams here.

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

Having the car conversation with your senior is hard. It’s an incredible loss of independence for them. There is no right or wrong way to have this conversation. But, the development of smart cars could keep seniors on the road longer and let you push the conversation further into the future.

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

 

Since the Silver Tsunami is coming, a large group of drivers is going to struggle to stay on the road. The auto industry needs to prepare for these drivers. They can do this by creating features that can work with disabilities or limitations that come with getting older.

For example, someone with arthritis can be helped by power seats that can move to the steering wheel and far away enough to get in the car easily. Other features that can help are power windows and mirrors, a thicker steering wheel that’s easier to grip, keyless entry, an automatic tailgate closer, and a push button to start and stop the engine.

Having a large display that’s high contrast with letters and numbers help those that are visually impaired. An auto-dimming rearview mirror and glare-reducing side mirrors can enhance driver safety.

A backup camera is an equally wonderful and dangerous feature. It’s great for those who can’t turn their heads well or shorter people. The problem is when people depend on it too much. It can’t cover blind spots, so people still need to look around.

AAA created a useful list of smart features that will be helpful for people with certain limitations.

Read more about smart cars here.

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

While NH may have the second highest senior population, Massachusetts has the largest senior prison population. It’s growing more everyday too. The question is why are there so many seniors in prison and how to do we properly take care of them?

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

 

According to the state Department of Correction (DOC), as of Jan. 1, 2018, there were 909 men aged 60 and older in prison. The average age of someone in prison in the state is 42-years-old.

The oldest inmate is 95!

Problems with senior abuse in state prisons has highlighted the problems that the system faces when it comes to senior prisoners. Prisoners aged 60 and over make up around 11% of the whole population of 8,852.

Senior Prison Population Rising

 

An interesting statistic about Massachusetts’ prison population is that the overall population is decreasing. Though, the elderly prison population has been steadily rising.

From 1999 to 2016, seniors in state and federal prisons increased 280%.

Pew Researchers believe that the growth of seniors in prison is due to the nature of the crimes they committed and how long they were sentenced for. Many older inmates were convicted of serious or violent crimes in their younger years.

Between 1993 and 2013, two-thirds of people 55 or older were sentenced for a violent crime like assault, rape, or murder.

Read more here.

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

New Hampshire isn’t new to extreme weather, but there’s been a lot of  natural disasters happening around the country as of late. While watching the news and feeling bad for the locals, people may forget about the seniors that live there. Seniors are especially vulnerable to disasters and evacuating seniors during emergencies takes a lot of practice and planning.

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

 

Charleston’s Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community in South Carolina has worked to make evacuations feel normal for the residents. They plan 24/7 for emergencies. They need to be ready to move once hurricane season kicks in.

When Hurricane Florence came, it was go time for all the communities of Charleston. For Bishop Gadsden, they were ready. Ambulances arrived at 2 A.M. to take 14 seniors too frail to make the journey sitting. The remaining residents boarded buses for a mountaintop inn. A U-Haul followed behind with walkers and a different bus had all their pets.

Why Evacuating is Such High Stakes

 

Moving a bunch of seniors is full of high stakes. Any small setback, like not enough oxygen tanks or lost medication, can have dire consequences. Even when it’s done perfectly, problems can arise.

This is because residents are used to a routine and can get really shaken up by any change. They can get anxious and may need more oxygen tanks than usual. There can be upset stomachs too.

Just because one evacuation goes well, that doesn’t mean community leaders can rest. Instead, they immediately get to work on how to make the journey easier next time.

Are You Evacuation Ready?

 

As mentioned before, extreme weather happens often in New Hampshire, are you prepared? If your senior is in a community, do you know if they have evacuation plans? Do they have plans in case they get snowed in?

If your senior lives at home, have you created a plan for them? Do you have extra supplies in case of a snow in? Do you have an emergency plan in case they lose power and heat? Seniors are especially sensitive to cold.

Before the winter season really kicks in, make sure to have a game plan ready for your senior. These communities have spent years perfecting this craft.

You may only have a few weeks.

Read more here.