I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

Visiting aging parents during the Thanksgiving holiday can sometimes be a jolting experience.  If it’s been some time since you’ve seen them, the awareness of a decline in health or simply the realization that they’re aging can be not only upsetting but concerning.  It can seem as if overnight memory loss, falls and other health issues need to be addressed and safeguards put in place. If you don’t live near your aging parents (or even if you do) finding products and services that can keep them safe will give you some peace of mind. 

Fortunately, there are many smart devices now on the market that will allow aging relatives to remain independent and safe:

OMRON 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor – Monitoring blood pressure on a regular basis is critical for prevention of strokes and heart attacks.  This blood pressure monitor can send unlimited readings for two people wirelessly to a smartphone, so you can help your parents manage their blood pressure and share the results with their physician. The information may help their doctors tweak their drugs and doses more readily than waiting until their next office visit to see if their current medication regimen is working.

Trelawear Medical Alert Pendant

TRELAWARE – This is a great alternative to the clunky white plastic “help I’ve fallen and can’t get up” medical alert pendants. MobileHelp now offers beautiful pieces of jewelry that work with their medical alert systems: with purchase, TRELAWEAR is paired with a mobile device and base station. 

Blending form and function, the new collection was designed for consumers who want a more stylish alternative to a traditional help button.

Pendants are offered in two different shapes (cushion and round), two different finishes (gold-tone and silver-colored), and two center resin stone color choices (black and turquoise).

If a user needs help, they simply press the discreet “T” button on the back of the TRELAWEAR pendant, and the signal is communicated through the MobileHelp base station or mobile device to its 24/7 central monitoring station for emergency dispatch to the user’s location.

Safer Alarms Christmas Ornament

Safer Alarms Christmas Ornament – Christmas tree fires are the deadliest house fires because they ignite so quickly. Frayed wires, placing a tree too close to a heat source or a candle that’s accidentally left burning all night that’s near the tree can all lead to a deadly disaster.  Safer Alarms Christmas ornament is actually a fire detector. Simply hang it on the tree and place the alarm in a common area where it can be heard and your family can get out of the house faster. Even when the ornament melts in the fire the alarm will continue to sound.

Sagely Smart Weekly Pill Organizer

Sagely Smart Weekly Pill Organizer – Medication management is one of the most difficult yet important tasks for aging adults. This pill organizer is large enough to hold big pills such as fish oil, multi-vitamins and has a magnetized base so will keep it stable.  The Push-Through design allows someone to push the pills from the lid into the container to improve loading accuracy and the flexible lids are easy to open and perfect for people with arthritis and other manual dexterity issues. Most importantly, there’s an app so it can remind you when to take your medication.

Jitterbug Smartphone – Many smartphones are too small or complicated for seniors to use.  The Jitterbug is perfect as it has a larger screen, a menu that is easy to navigate and voice typing so seniors can send a text message without needing to key in all the letters.  It also has a front facing speaker so it’s easier to hear.

 

As a blogger, I get compensated for some of my posts when I discuss a product and someone purchases it. This is my job and how I get paid. I will not, however, recommend or discuss a product that I don’t feel is of benefit or value to my readers. My thoughts on these products are my own.

For any of my readers who has a family member with a disability or an aging parent, you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when your phone rings at an odd hour from your loved one.  The first thing that crosses your mind is “what happened?”  We’re always waiting for the phone call that someone fell, is in the ER or from the police that they were in a car crash.

Someone shared with me an Instagram post of the ultimate caregiver sandwich – where you’re in the middle sandwiched between your kids and your aging parents.  But add in disabilities or chronic illnesses and the daily stress is debilitating.  

 “Caregiving has all the features of a chronic stress experience: It creates physical and psychological strain over extended periods of time, is accompanied by high levels of unpredictability and uncontrollability, has the capacity to create secondary stress in multiple life domains such as work and family relationships.” The American Journal of Nursing

A great deal of this stress comes from the vigilance required to safeguard the person against injury. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for older adults and getting help quickly is critical to preventing additional complications. There is nothing more frustrating for adult children than when their parents insist they don’t need help and, in fact, refuse devices and products that could make life easier.

I remember when my dad first showing signs of Alzheimer’s and would get a bit disoriented. He would go out for his walk every day and I asked my mom if she was worried that he’d get confused as to where he was and wander off. Her response to me was that it was fine, she knew his route. Of course, this only holds up if dad stays on the route. What she didn’t want to accept is that it only takes one minute for him to stray off his normal route and end up lost.

Caring for our aging parents can be exhausting in the best of circumstances but when they put up objections due to pride or embarrassment it takes it to another level.

What most people don’t realize is that there are now products that are functional as well as fashionable and don’t even look like medical devices.

One that I recommend to anyone who has an adult child or spouse with a disability or an aging parent is the Mobile Help Smart Watch.  While it looks like a traditional watch, this is a health tracker, smart device and medical alert system all-in-one.

Unlike the old-school plastic medical alert pendants that no one wants to wear, the Mobile Help Smart Watch has a built-in microphone and speaker, activity tracking, vital sign sensors and health-focused applications such as the ability to measure heart rate, target fitness and diet goals and even view the weather with a built-in weather app.

If there is a medical emergency the person just needs to push the Help button and connect with the Emergency Response Center. Most importantly the built-in GPS location tracking will allow Emergency Responders to find the person quickly even if he/she can’t identify where they are. 

The Mobile Help Smart Watch works with all carriers and the battery lasts for 2 days on one charge.

Having the peace of mind knowing my mom can get help immediately if something happens when she’s out in the community makes me a lot less stressed. 

As a spokesperson for COX Homelife I have the chance to check out so many smart devices that provide accessibility and for seniors to remain in their home.

For more information, visit Cox.com.

Image: McAlpin, NYdailynews.com

 

An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu or complications of the flu each year, most of these deaths occurring in senior citizens. Because seniors’ immune systems begin to weaken at the age of 65, they are at a much higher risk for contracting the sickness. The CDC estimates that 200,000 people a year will be hospitalized for the flu, and disproportionately it is the elderly who this affects.

There are two options for the vaccine for senior citizens: the traditional vaccine that is administered to anyone who gets it, or — the choice I would recommend as long as given the “okay” by the doctor — is the stronger strain of the vaccination, designated for those over 65 to trigger a stronger immune response to flu.

As mentioned before, many seniors do not just die from the flu alone, but complications of the illness. Those with a history of heart problems, chronic lung disease, diabetes, or renal failure are more likely to have complications with the flu and should take extra precautions against contracting it. The most common complication associated with the flu is pneumonia, which leads to the most deaths and hospitalizations. Arming seniors with the pneumococcal vaccination is the best protection against this, even paired with the flu vaccine, just to be safe.

Not getting the flu shot, which in recent years has been made so convenient and accessible – and it is always covered by MediCare – is a risk too big to take with senior citizens. The vaccine can reduce the risk of illnesses and complications by 60 percent and reduces the incidence of flu deaths by 90 percent in seniors. Most importantly, getting your loved ones vaccinated offers the peace of mind of knowing that they will not suffer or be exposed to an array of illnesses and complications that could  prove fatal this season.

Disclaimer – I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

old lady drivingRecently I attended the Lifesavers Conference on behalf of Toyota. This was an incredible conference dedicated to all aspects of driving safety. An important and growing concern is driving safety for older adults and how to know when it’s time to give up the keys. This was the focus of one of the workshops led by the Deputy Director of TREDS (Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 there were 30 million drivers over the age of 65. By 2030, there will be 71 million. While there are fewer drivers over 85 years-old on the road, they are involved in four times as many fatal accidents than other aged drivers.

The greatest issues for older drivers are as follows:

• Not scanning roadways
• Difficulty staying in the same lane
• Inappropriate or delayed stopping
• Lane changes without signaling
• Pedal misapplication
• Failure to yield/respond appropriately to road signs and signals

For many adult children, having “the talk” with their parents about when it’s no longer safe to drive is difficult. After all, getting your license when you’re a teen symbolizes true freedom and having the keys taken away as a senior represents a significant loss of independence. But it’s not only a question of their safety but other motorists and pedestrians who could be impacted by their inability to drive safely. This video offers a chilling reminder of what could happen to our parent if we don’t take away their keys.

For more information on how to talk to your parent about driving safety and to understand some of the issues, you can visit AAA’s Senior Driving site to get some great information.

Have you had “the talk” with your parent? Did they listen?  Share your story with us.

Sometimes the changes are subtle – forgetting what year it is or forgetting how to get to the local grocery store.  Other times it’s a dramatic event – a fall, a stroke or a heart attack.  At some point, our aging parents will need our help and, unfortunately, we are often unprepared for what that entails.  In many cases, our parents will even refuse our help and be defiant.

If you or someone you know is dealing with care giving issues for an aging parent, please join us for a very important Twitter party to talk about how this has impacted you and your family and some practical advice on how you can help them, even when they might not want it.

When – Wednesday, March 13th 9:00 – 10:00 PM ET

Our Sponsor VTech CareLine™

Hashtag – #VTechCares

Prizes – Three lucky winners will receive a  VTech CareLine™ home telephone and personal communication system.

RSVP – Be sure to follow @VTech411 & @AccessHomeLiving, leave us a comment below and follow #VTechCares during the party.

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf VTech Communications, Inc. and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.

 

VTech Survey Finds Communication and Isolation Top Concerns for Seniors and Caregivers

The ability to remain connected and the safety concerns of being alone are the top issues on senior’s minds according to a recent surveyconducted by VTech Communications.

The VTech Caregiver/Senior Communications Survey found that caregivers worried most about the time seniors were alone, while seniors missed an active social life.  In fact 41% of seniors surveyed said their top challenge was not being as active or social as they would like.  While many seniors would prefer to age-in-place, it’s clear that the ability to stay active within the community and maintain relationships is important for both their emotional and physical well-being.  Isolation and loneliness leads to depression in over 15% of people over the age of 65 and
subsequently increases their healthcare costs by 50%.  This lack of connection is also of concern as it relates to safety.

Many seniors experience long hours alone at home – 91.6 percent of seniors surveyed said they spend time alone during the week.  Their top worries,along with their caregivers’ concerns, included:

  • Fall or injury (76.1 percent of caregivers and 33 percent or seniors)
  • Medical event or injury requiring immediate assistance (60.8 percent of caregivers and 25.2 percent of seniors)
  • Other general problems that seniors wouldn’t feel equipped to deal with alone (45.9 percent of caregivers and 14 percent of seniors)

In the survey, seniors and caregivers identified products they felt would keep them connected and safe while allowing them to maintain independent lifestyles:

  • Communication tools such as email, phones, cellphones and Skype – 41.7 percent total
  • Healthcare technology such as blood pressure monitors and medication dispensers – 36.7 percent total
  • Personal safety products such as wearable pendants to call someone in case of an emergency and home alarm system – 29.4 percent

VTech’s CareLine Personal Communications System Helps Fill Gaps

Addressing caregiver needs to reach their loved ones, and seniors’ desire to remain connected and social, VTech’s new CareLine™ home safety telephone system supports independent living. Designed with experts in aging and technology, the CareLine system (MSRP: $119.95), includes a full-featured corded phone, a cordless handset and a wearable pendant. Blending the comfort and ease of a home phone with the security and flexibility of personal safety products, CareLine puts the ability to connect with trusted contacts at seniors’ fingertips.

Designed to meet the daily communication needs of seniors, the wearable pendant allows them to conveniently make and receive calls, listen to voicemail messages, review missed calls or receive programmed reminders for medication, appointments or other events.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf VTech Communications, Inc. and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.”