Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Retirement Expectations Gap

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Everybody dreams about retirement from the time you are 35 until right up to when it finally happens. Visions of travelling to Europe, free concerts in the park and lectures on ancient Roman architecture at the local university fill your mind. Very few think about the aches and pains that will inevitably come with age. Certainly, the increasing physical and emotional burdens of becoming a caregiver for your aging parents aren’t in the idyllic picture you have created.

As a new survey from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health indicates, those approaching retirement need to reset their expectations on what it would be like. In particular, their is a wide gap between expectations and reality as it relates to your health.

  • 13% of pre-retirees believe their health will be worse than it is today
  • 39% of retirees believe their health is worse than it was in the five years before retirement

Pre-retirees and recent retirees should be realistic about what is likely to happen so that they can prepare for changes. Understanding the latest technology advances in senior health including medical alarms is a good way to start.


Drink coffee. Lots of coffee.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

The media is abuzz about coffee today. We’re not talking about the buzz they get from their cup of morning joe. We’re talking about the buzz from new research that further points to coffee being the miracle drug.

Yesterday, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health published a report that men can significantly reduce their risk of prostate cancer. Men who drank six or more cups a day over an extended period of time reduced their risk by sixty percent. Those who drank less coffee still saw their risk decline, though not by as much. It doesn’t matter if the coffee is caffeinated or decaf, pointing instead to coffee as an antioxidant.

Last week, a study out of Sweden found that women who drank five or more cups of coffee a day had a much lower risk of aggressive breast cancer.

Of course six cups a day from Starbucks could send you and your newfound health to the poorhouse, which is why we present you with this helpful video on how to pick the right coffee. Spoiler alert: in blind tests, the cheapest coffee nearly always wins.

Photo by visualpanic via flickr

Domino’s delivers…medical alert services

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

We were struck by this story on NBC’s Today Show about a pizza delivery woman who came to the rescue of one of her elderly customers. Jean Wilson had ordered a pepperoni pizza every day from a Domino’s restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. When she hadn’t called in for a few days, Domino’s delivery woman, Susan Guy, got worried and went to check on Ms. Wilson. There was no answer at the house and none of Ms. Wilson’s neighbors had seen her in recent days, so Ms. Guy called 911. Police broke down the door and found Ms. Wilson on the floor. She had fallen a few days earlier and couldn’t get to the phone. Ms. Wilson was hospitalized, but fortunately her injuries aren’t life threatening.

Jean Wilson’s story illustrates why a medical alert system is so important for seniors living at home alone. She was fortunate that her injuries weren’t more serious and that Susan Guy is such a concerned and compassionate person, a real hero. It’s a wonderful story because it looks like everything is going to be okay in the end, but seniors and their loved ones should also consider it a cautionary tale.

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Real-world advice for women about heart disease

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Last week, the American Heart Association issued the 2011 update to its guidelines for preventing heart disease in women. Often thought to be a male disease, heart disease is the number one cause of death among women. More women die from heart disease than from cancer, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s and accidents, combined.

Dr. Lori Mosca, the chair of the guidelines writing committee, noted, “These recommendations underscore the fact that benefits of preventive measures seen day-to-day in doctors’ offices often fall short of those reported for patients in research settings.” Dr. Mosca noted that patients in the real-world often don’t fair as well as patients in studies because they are “older, sicker, and experience more side effects.”

Most of the AHA’s guidelines are generally considered common sense these days, but they’re definitely worth reviewing and heeding. Some key guidelines are:

  • Don’t smoke and avoid environmental smoke.
  • Get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.
  • Women’s diets should be rich in fruits and vegetables and include whole-grain and high-fiber foods. They should eat fish at least twice a week, limit saturated fat and avoid trans-fats.
  • Aspirin should be taken by women at high risk, and it can also be useful for other women, including healthy women.

Visit the American Heart Association site to view the entire list and discuss them with your doctor.

Photo of Dr. Mosca courtesy: American Heart Association

Caring for Caregivers

Monday, November 8th, 2010

National Family Caregivers Month seems to be effectively raising awareness of the plight of those who have to care for elderly and ill relatives. We’re coming across many more articles on the topic than we recall seeing in the past.

In her recent blog post, Who Cares for the Caregivers?, April Rudin highlights a new organization, the Caregiver Relief Fund, that is focused on providing relief to those people who spend so much of their time providing help to family members. CRF’s mission is to “address the two major problems for caregivers: limited time and chronic exhaustion.”

Through donations, the organization provides vouchers to let caregivers get professional at-home care services to come help out so the caregiver can attend to their personal needs, whether it’s finally taking care of personal financial matters or simply getting a few moments to rest. CRF has also teamed up with hotel and travel partners to help caregivers really get time away. Caregivers need to apply for CRF relief on the organization’s web site.

For more information about the Caregiver Relief Fund, go to

A LifeStation medical alert system also helps give many caregivers relief by giving them the confidence that the people for whom they care will always be able to get help at the touch of a button even when the caregiver is away. When a LifeStation user needs help, Care Specialists at our UL Listed monitor center will immediately contact the caregiver, emergency services and others on the user’s emergency contact list. Two LifeStation Care Specialists always handle each call so that one can stay with the user while the other arranges help.

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, we’re offering $2 off per month on your LifeStation medical alert system order. Enter code: CG2010 at checkout.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Every year since 1997, the President of the United States has declared November to be National Family Caregivers Month, recognizing the more 65 million people in this country who take responsibility for caring for relatives. According to the National Family Caregivers Organization, the sponsoring organization, the focus of the month is on:

  • Raising awareness of family caregiver issues
  • Celebrating the efforts of family caregivers
  • Educating family caregivers about self-identification
  • Increasing support for family caregivers

Many LifeStation consoles are purchased by family caregivers for loved ones. When users includes caregivers on their personalized emergency contact list, as is nearly always the case, LifeStation’s Care Specialists notify the caregivers whenever the user requests help. LifeStation makes sure caregivers stay in the loop.

Robot Teddy Bears Help Seniors

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

To deal with an aging population, Japan has been working towards having robots help take care of the growing numbers of seniors. Early efforts haven’t been very successful because older people are apparently put off by somewhat human-looking machines with robotic voices. That’s why Fujitsu, the large Japanese technology company, has taken a different approach. The company has developed a robotic teddy bear that understands with whom it’s interacting and communicates through a series of gestures. A voice synthesizer uses the voice of a little boy.

More details and a video are available on

Treatment via telemedicine may reduce depression in homebound seniors

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Remote technology may be able to significantly improve the lives of homebound seniors. Depression among seniors who need home healthcare is much higher than it is among other elderly people living at home, but results from a new study indicate that treatment through telemedicine may be able to significantly reduce depression levels. Telemedicine is the transfer of medical information and the treatment of conditions through interactive audiovisual communications such as video conferencing.

The pilot study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and other organizations worked with 19 homebound seniors initially diagnosed with major depression. Upon follow-up after the remote treatment, the average depression level scores were “mild”.

Concerns over too many medicines

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010


It seems that there’s a medicine today to alleviate or cure nearly everything that ails us, but a recent article explains how interactions among multiple drugs can cause unwanted and even dangerous side effects.

Dizziness, drowsiness and digestive problems are common side effects from some of the drugs this man is taking. Trying to treat adverse reactions with more drugs increases the likelihood that an older person will experience a serious complication that may lead to hospitalization.

Make sure that your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all the medications that you’re taking.

(Photo by swimboy1 via Flickr)

Virtual Senior Center Keeps Homebound Seniors Connected

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Blogger Jane Gross reported in the New York Times recently about a pilot “virtual senior center” that New York City’s Department of Aging is setting up to aid homebound elderly people. The project, which is backed by Microsoft, lets seniors easily interact with other seniors, doctors and even participate in religious services using computers with large touchscreen monitors and webcams.

There are only twelve people in the initial project, but some early results are very heartening. Gross reports on one 86-year-old gentleman:

But it’s better, much better, than watching TV alone in one’s apartment. I have been brought back into the world of now, Mr. Greidinger wrote to me.

While there are clearly some kinks in the system, other news sites have reported that there’s been a lot of interest in launching similar projects in other parts of the United States and even internationally.

Read the article: Being There, Without Leaving Home