Product Review: GrandCARE Systems

GrandCare Systems - Connecting Seniors to Family and CareI get really excited about new technologies, systems, and emerging companies.  Especially if they’re built with the goal of making peoples lives more livable.   GrandCARE Systems is one of those companies that’s easy to get behind!  GrandCARE Systems is a communication tool, care management asset and activity-sensor-hub all wrapped up in an easy-to-use touchscreen device.

Connectivity Tools For Seniors

The grandCARE System offers connectivity for seniors.  It keeps them connected to family members, caregivers, and healthcare providers alike.  Family members are able to share photos, videos, and messages through the care portal (which can be accessed through any device with an internet connection).  Caregivers can set up activity reminders and medication prompts.  Medication reminders take on a whole new look with photos of pills and dosing information.

Healthcare providers are able to set up sensors around the home that can detect motion, establish sleep patterns and even send an alert if the refrigerator door has not been opened in the morning.  The system also supports telehealth devices such as blood pressure monitors, scales, pulse oximeters, glucometers, and thermometers.   All of this can be done while monitoring and engaging even the most technology-averse seniors.GrandCare Systems offers connectivity to seniors

GrandCARE allows every person involved with the senior to contribute in their own way.  It allows people to feel more integrated into their loved ones lives. — Daphne Karpan, Home Care RN

Thegrandcare systems communication tool grandCARE touch screen interface is very easy for the front end-user, presumably an older adult that may not be familiar with computers or modern tech.  It’s also easy for family, caregivers and providers who are connected on the back-end.  Monitoring seniors at home can make a great deal of sense.  GrandCARE just makes it easier!  Personally, I can also see this system being a welcome addition to any long distance family member situation.  Family members can easily send photos, videos and personal notes to share.

We reviewed a competitor of grandCARE in the past called Video Care.  Even though Video Care isn’t around anymore, their users have been incorporated into the grandCARE system.

 VideoCare used different hardware than grandCARE but we invested in testing our software to the point we can simply send VideoCare customers a USB drive that installs GrandCare on their current VideoCare touch PC.   It has made a number of people happy and we are proud to almost seamlessly migrate clients and their caregivers from VideoCare to grandCARE with almost no interruption in service. — Jerry Furness, COO of grandCARE

GrandCare Systems MonitorGrandCARE Systems (grandCARE) recently released MediKall, which is a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant video chat for providers to talk to clients and patients about medical conditions.  HIPPA compliance means your medical and personal information is protected/safe. GrandCARE can be used with a wired or wi-fi internet connection, so it’s a very flexible solution.

Buying a grandCARE System

Cost is $699 for the system and requires a $49 monthly subscription.  There are no additional charges for use of health devices, sensors, or alerts.  Some users are able to access this system through their home care, home health, hospice, or senior care living facility at a reduced cost.  Ask your provider if they have grandCARE connected into their network.  If you’re interested in the grandCARE System for a family member or a friend, by being a member of The Senior List community, you can receive 10% off of the purchase price.  Tell them you read about it here!

Making The Best Of A Delayed Flight

A delayed flight with the Port City SoundYou know the drill… You hop on your flight and get buckled in when the captain comes on the intercom with this announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen we’ve been placed on a weather hold because of storms rolling across the greater Chicago area.  The tower has asked us to hang tight here in the gate area while this weather moves through.  Current estimates put our hold at around 30 minutes or so.”

Naturally, a delayed flight is anxiety inducing and uncomfortable for all.  This is usually the case, but on a recent US Airways flight to New Orleans a flight delay got you a free ticket to hear the Port City Sound, an award winning barbershop quartet!  Kari Mann a flight attendant for US Airways captured the moment and the smiles that went with it.  Hats off to these guys for making this a flight to remember.  They’re incredibly talented and get 2 thumbs up from The Senior List!  Watch the video below.

Senior Discounts On Travel 2015

We love digging deep into the world of senior discounts.  After being interviewed by several prominent news organizations recently, we’ve come to understand that there’s a lot of interest in discounts for boomers and seniors these days.  Because so many of you have asked for additional updates to our big list of senior discounts, we thought we’d get a jump start on updating this year’s list of senior travel discounts.  Keep in mind that senior discounts can change from time to time, so we rely on our Senior List community members to let us know about updates, additions or changes as required.

If you haven’t read our updated list of senior discounts for dining out you’ll want to get your hands on that (and share it with friends). We’ve also produced a list of senior discounts on prescriptions, and where to turn if you need government help for your prescription medicines (there are a number of programs available to people in need).

So without further adieu, here is our 2015 list of Senior Travel Discounts!

List of Senior Travel Discounts

Senior Discounts on Airfare

senior discounts on airlines

photo credit:wikipedia

American Airlines: Various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: No initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines: Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines: Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Senior Discounts on Rental Cars

Senior Discounts for Rental Cars

photo credit:flickr/gillfoto

Alamo Car Rental: Up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: Up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Hertz: Up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car: Up to 30% off for AARP members

About Us: The Senior ListSenior List Traveler Tip: Many of the discount warehouse clubs and other organizations offer discount codes for rental cars.  Costco, BJ’s, AARP, USAA and AAA all offer discount coupons for rental cars. (*Note: You’ll need to be a member to access car rental deals through these clubs.)

Senior Discounts on Hotels

senior discounts on hotels
Photo credit:flickr/Elliott Brown

Best Western: 10% or more for AARP or senior guests (55+)
Candlewood Suites:  Discounts vary (62+)
Crown Plaza:  Discounts vary (62+)
Days Inn:  Discounts vary (60+)
Holiday Inn:  Discounts vary (62+)
Howard Johnson Hotels:  Discounts off best available rate (60+)
Hyatt:  Up to 50% off (62+)
Knights Inn:  Up to 10% off (60+)
La Quinta Inns:  Discounts vary (65+)
Marriott:  15% off (62+)
Motel 6:  10% off (60+)
Super 8:  Seniors save 10% off (up to 20% with AARP card)
Travelodge:  Discounts vary (60+)
Wyndham Hotels:  Up to 20% with AARP card

Other Travel Deals For Seniors

There are plenty more travel deals to be had.  If you are traveling by bus, you should know that Greyhound, Peter Pan and Trailways all offer senior discounts (62+) for Bus travel.  If you’re traveling by train, Amtrak (and VIA Rail Canada) each offer senior discounts.  You can count on a 10% discount from Amtrak if your 60+ and a 15% discount if you’re 62 or older!  Another great source of senior discounts is available by joining AARP.  They have a great page dedicated to exclusive senior travel discounts for AARP members.

We find that senior discounts aren’t often advertised.  If they are, you can usually find them in the fine print.  If you frequent a business of any type, ask if they offer any senior discounts.  You have nothing to loose!  If they don’t, kindly as them to consider offering a discount in the future.  
As always, if you have any travel discount tips, or any updates to the senior discounts noted above, please let us know in the comments below!

How Much Time Do We Have?

How much time do we have?

What are you doing with all of your time?

How much time is left?

Your Life in JellybeansThese are tough questions to answer, but the video below puts them in perspective using 28,835 jellybeans of all things!  Why the number 28,835? Because this is the average number of days we have to live our lives.  Some have more days, and some have less… But on average, this is what we get.  In the video below by Zefrank1 on YouTube, each day is represented by a single jellybean.

What if I told you that it would take 5,474 days to turn 15 years old (ya I know that’s easy math).  At 15 years old we’re on the precipice of adulthood, and we have our whole life in front of us.  Now for some interesting statistics from the American Time Use Survey (creatively illustrated by Zefrank1).  After turning 15, you’ll spend 8,477 days sleeping, 1,635 days eating, drinking and preparing food, and 3,202 days at work (ugh).  Additionally (with special thanks to Lakers fans) you can plan on wasting 1,099 days in the car commuting to wherever it is you’re going.

Just how much time to we have left?  What else are we spending our time on? How bout watching TV, doing chores, caring for friends and family, bathroom activities, and community services.  After all that… What’s left over?  And more importantly, what does it all mean?  Watch the video to find out.

28,835 days

Senior Discounts on Prescriptions: Government Programs

Senior Discounts: Government Prescription ProgramsSaving on prescription drug costs is tough to do unless you know the full armamentarium available to you.  If you haven’t read our report on senior discounts and pharmacy discount clubs, you’ll want to check that out right away.  Another opportunity to save on the cost of prescription medications is to examine the many government programs available to seniors, and the public at large.

There are government agencies that offer assistance and advice on lowering prescription drug costs. Answers.USA.Gov offers a great resource for those that need some help with prescription drug costs. Here are some of their ideas to consider:

Senior Discounts From Government Agencies

  • Contact your local State Social Services Agency. These agencies can provide direct assistance to individuals in need and referrals to other service providers.
  • Local Health Centers can serve populations with limited access to healthcare. Annual income and family size determine ones ability to pay, and those guidelines are set to the most recent federal poverty guidelines.
  • If you are a Medicare or Medicaid recipient, you can call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). They can provide information about government-run healthcare programs and referrals to state agencies that administer these programs.
  • Consider contacting the company that manufactures your medication. They may supply you with free or discounted medication. You may also get a list of discount programs, by company, through the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). They offer the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) program. You may contact the PPA at 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669).
  • Veterans may with to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA offers many programs designed to assist veterans.
  • Seniors can use the Administration on Aging’s (AOA) Eldercare Locator. This free service can help you locate resources and programs designed to help seniors in your area. You can also contact an Eldercare Locator information specialist by calling 1-800-677-1116.

Other articles you might be interested in: 2015 List OF Senior Discounts For Dining Out, 2014’s Big List Of Senior Discounts, List of Pharmacy Discount Clubs

2015 Recommended Medical Alert Systems

medical alert systemsTwo years ago we published a very popular post that included a list of traditional (in-home) medical alert systems.  In addition to the list, we provided reviews of those medical alert systems so readers could compare and contrast.  Since that time, the medical alert arena has changed.  Companies have come and gone, and thankfully we have new medical alert options like mobile devices, and even smartphone apps to consider.

Given the modernization changes to medical alert systems offered today, we thought we’d refresh our list.  Let’s also give a special nod to those providers (and devices) that we’re currently recommending.  Based on feedback from our community members, we may opt to add providers to the recommended list OR delete someone from the list.  If you want to understand what criteria we look for in a quality device you’ll want to read this Medical Alert System Overview.

*Special Note:  If The Senior List® is recommending a specific provider, we will note it with a “Senior List Checkmark of Approval”.
Senior List Approved Medical Alert Systems

Checkmark = Senior List Approved

2015 List of Medical Alert Systems

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsAlert 1: The Alert1 medical alert system has come along way since we first reviewed the Alert1 back in 2011.  Alert 1 has a number of new medical alert systems to choose from. They have a traditional basic pendant-style device, they have a pendant with fall detection, and they have small mobile (cellular based) emergency response button called the “Kelsi”.  Alert 1 has a US based emergency response center, and prices start at $25.95 per month. No termination fee, but you will forfeit pre-paid services if you cancel.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsBay Alarm Medical:  Bay Alarm Medical is offering traditional in-home medical alert systems (with or without a home telephone line), and a mobile GPS device for those that don’t wish to be tethered to a mobile base station.  Bay Alarm has a lot of positive reviews and customer testimonials out there, and we understand them to offer great support.  See our own review of Bay Alarm Medical here.  Bay Alarm Medical offers good value with a monthly plan starting at $21.95. No long-term contracts.

Connect America:  Connect America claims to be the fastest growing medical alert company out there.  They are a no frills provider that offers traditional in-home medical alert monitoring.  Prices start at $29.95 per month and there are no long-term contracts (following your first 3 months of service).

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsCostco MediPendant:  The Costco MediPendant is a great consideration for a speakerphone type medical alert system.  Click here to read The Senior List review of the MediPendant.  This device boasts a great battery life, and the Costco deal actually provides an extra battery within the packaging.  All in all we like this device but you should understand that it’s bulky, and uncomfortable for most to wear around the neck.  Costco provides 6 month free service initially, and month-to-month rates start at $26.95 (IF you pay of-front for an annual plan you can get your rate down to $19.95).  No long-term contracts.

Freedom Alert:  The Freedom Alert is a 2-way voice emergency pendant (think tiny speakerphone) that allows the user to call up to 4 pre-programmed telephone numbers (plus (911).  Once you purchase the equipment ($259.95) there are no monthly expenses to maintain.  It is literally a tiny speakerphone that fits in the palm of your hand or on a lanyard.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsGreatCall Splash:  The GreatCall Splash medical alert system is a handy little device that we just love.  This is the same company that sells the (very senior friendly) Jitterbug 5 cell phone.  We’ve personally used the GreatCall 5Star which is the prior model to the Splash.  This mobile (GPS) medical alert system operates on a cellular network (always) so you can take it wherever you wish. The GreatCall Splash is waterproof, and monthly plans start at just $14.99 per month ($19.95/mo. if you want access to medical personnel like nurses and/or doctors). No long-term contracts.

Life Alert:  Yup you know Life Alert from their iconic “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials.  They’ve been serving the public for 3 decades, and offer traditional in-home medical alert services. Prices start at $29.95.  Beware of long-term contracts.

LifeFone:  LifeFone has a complete suite of medical alert systems from traditional land-line based systems to cellular options.  LifeFone also offers a pendant with fall detection.  Prices start at $24.95 per month, and there is no long-term contracts.

Life Guardian:  The Life Guardian family of medical alert systems is now called Safe Guardian (catchy).  Safe Guardian sells a 911 emergency device, a traditional medical alert system, a mobile medical alert system, and a speakerphone device.  Plans start at $19 per month (if paid annually) for land-line system (analogue not VOIP) and there are no long-term contracts.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsLifeStation: LifeStation offers traditional medical alert system options as well as a new mobile (cellular) emergency button which calls 911 in case of an emergency. Pricing starts at $25.95 per month and there are no long-term contracts (just provide 30 days notice to cancel).  Set-up is simple and call center staff are certified. Read our LifeStation Reviews.

Medical Guardian: The Medical Guardian is a nice option to consider when shopping for medical alert systems.  Medical Guardian offers in-home medical alert systems, a cellular option, and a fall detection option.  Prices start at $29.95 per month and there is no equipment to purchase. No long-term contracts.

MobileHelp:  MobileHelp offers both a traditional in-home medical alert system as well as a mobile (cellular) option.  MobileHelp also has a pendant with fall detection which is compatible with their base station.  Prices start at $25.78 per month with an annual plan ($34.95 month-to-month). They claim they will refund pre-paid funds upon cancellation.  We always recommend you get this in writing if you go with a long-term price plan.Here is our original review of MobileHelp.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsPhilips Lifeline:  Philips Lifeline offers a family of medical alert system options including traditional medical alert systems over your home telephone line, a GPS mobile option (called GoSafe) and a smartphone app called “Response App”.  Philips is a little more expensive than some of the other providers (starting at $29.95) but they’re well regarded, and have a history of service. Call centers are located in the USA. Read our Philips Lifeline review here. No long-term contracts.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsQMedic: QMedic claims to be the “world’s smartest medical alert service”. This smart little unit can alert when a user is not wearing the device, when they fail to get out of bed, and when they are inactive for extended periods of time.  The Senior List® reviewed the QMedic and gave it a test drive in our home lab.  It worked exceptionally well, and the staff was professional and accommodating (a great sign for a new company). $30 per month and no long-term contracts.

ResponseLINK:  ResponseLINK offer products with the same form factors and functions as Alert1.  Prices start at $25.95.

Verizon SureResponse:  The Verizon SureResponse had the potential to be a great addition to the medical alert system market but it’s launch fell flat. The trouble started with a clunky form factor, support that was non-existent, and performance issues as reported by customers.  Simply put, it appears Big Red wasn’t ready for this device (or the market).  The Senior List even reached out to Verizon Wireless to see if we could help their team (but… we were ignored).  See our SureResponse review here.  Our readers didn’t have many good things to say about this device, but we’re hoping that Verizon focuses on this space at some point.  They could be a player here.  Rates follow their cellular phone model which means there’s equipment to buy, and a long-term agreement to adhere to. (sigh)

VRI: The VRI medical alert system is a nice, easy to use option when considering medical alert systems. We originally reviewed VRI  back in 2011.  It’s easy to set up and is a generally considered a no-frills machine.  There are 2 options for using VRI in your home.  There is a purchase option in which the client purchases the equipment ($175) and then pays $19.95 per month for monitoring, and there is the rental option which starts at $29.95 per month.

The Senior List is here for you.  These decisions aren’t easy, so we’re here to help you find the best deal from the best providers.  Some of the providers mentioned above have an affiliate relationship with The Senior List, and we’re proud of those relationships. We only work with providers that pass our own stringent criteria, and these are the same providers that we refer our friends and family to.

Step-By-Step: Medical Alert Buyers Guide

Give us your feedback on any of the medical alert systems you have experience with, particularly if they are on this list. We would love to hear the positive experiences as well as the challenges you’ve had.  Often times our expectation of quality service precludes us from expressing appreciation for good service, so let’s make sure we hear about positive experiences too.  Here’s your chance to sound off!  We look forward to your feedback.

2015 Senior Discounts: Restaurants

Restaurant Discounts for SeniorsOne of our most popular posts last year (in 2014) was our big list of senior discounts.  This discount list included everything from food and entertainment, to apparel and cell phone discounts.  To make our growing senior discount posts easier to process, we’re going to break them down into categories so they’re easier to navigate, and so we can interact more specifically with our readers.

Let us know what senior discounts are working (and what discounts aren’t working out) in the comments section. Also, add any (confirmed) discounts that are missing so we can build this valuable resource together.

There was an interesting article published recently by the BBC’s Business News Section (published yesterday) which discussed the rude awakening waiting for pensioners when they retire.  They simply won’t have enough money to live comfortably.  With that said, there are discounts to be had just by asking for them.  If you saved a dollar a day by asking for your 50+ benefit, you’d have over $300 at the end of the year.  That’s not small change!

Asking For Your Senior Discounts

One of the pieces of advice we give to everyone concerning senior discounts is to simply ask your server before you order.  Ask them, “Do you have any senior discounts?”  If you do this ahead of time, you’ll know if there is a special menu that might be available.  It may have additional offerings, smaller portions, and/or better value for your money.  The worst that can happen is they say “No”.  Here is our 2015 List of Senior Discounts for Restaurants.

The Senior List Check Mark

Best Senior Discounts For Dining Out

Applebee’s: 10-15% off senior discounts (varies by location) MAY require Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s: 10% off (55+)
A&W All American Food: 10% Senior discount varies by location
Backyard Burger: free drink with purchase
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off for seniors (60+)
Bennigan’s: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+) plus additional discounts on coffee and soft drinks
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co: 10% off for AARP Members
Captain D’s Seafood: “Happy Wednesday Offer” choice of 8 meals + drink for $4.99 or less- varies by loc. (62+)
Carrabba’s Italian Grill: 20% off on Wednesdays to AARP Members
Carrows Restaurants: Golden 55 Menu offers discounted bfast, lunch & dinner (55+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili’s: 10% off (55+)
CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Country Kitchen: Great Senior Menu (55+)
Culvers: 10% off senior discount (60+)
Dairy Queen: 10% off for seniors (15% for coaches) varies by location (free small drink at some locations)
Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin’ Donuts:  AARP members receive a free donut with the purchase of a large hot coffee (at participating restaurants)
Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
El Pollo Loco: 10% off senior discounts varies by location (55+)
Friendly’s Restaurants: Breakfast discount varies by location (60+) Senior List readers to confirm
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+)
Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: Great discounts on senior menu items (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
Kagle’s Barbecue: 10% off (50+)
KFC: Free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)
Long John Silver’s: Various discounts at locations (55+)
McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Outback Steakhouse: 15% off AARP members for meals Monday through Thursday (alcohol excluded)
Old Country Buffet: Daily discounts for seniors (55+)
Papa John’s: 25% off (55+) for online orders. Enter the code “AARP25″ when placing your order
Ponderosa Steak Houses: Senior Discounts Vary- Senior menu available (60+)
Shoney’s: 10% off Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+) varies by location
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (60+)
Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off for seniors (50+)
Traditions Restaurant (East TX): Senior platter meal for $4.71 (50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: 10% off (55+)
Whataburger: Free drink w/ purchase of a meal- varies by loc. (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Readers, providers and publishers: Feel free to share our list with attribution, and a link to this updated post. OK- Your turn to add to the list!  Shout Out in the comments below :)

Gifts for Caregivers

gifts for caregiversWith the holidays quickly approaching, I have been asked by clients and family members alike what the best gifts for caregivers are this season.  After some reflection about all the things caregivers do for the people they are taking care of, I made a few adjustments to my answer.  There is no amount of money that will ever fully recognize the amount of stress, love, and care that any family or professional caregiver goes through each and every day.  However, here are a few ideas that may help the caregivers in your life feel recognized, appreciated and pampered.

Private Caregivers

I think of these caregivers as the folks who work for in-home care, home health, and hospice companies.  They may also be private caregivers who work for themselves or through a caregiver referral agency.  If they work for a private company, do check on company policies for gift-giving.

  • Massage, Manicure, and/or Pedicure gift certificates
  • Gift certificate to a nice restaurant
  • Movie tickets
  • Anything to help facilitate relaxation and pampering

Family Caregivers

Did you know that 4 in 10 U.S. adults cares for a sick or elderly loved one?  That’s a whole lot of care being provided without any paycheck at all.  Family caregivers often feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and pulled in many different directions by work and family obligations.

  • Offer to go shopping
  • Cook a meal
  • Clean the house
  • Lunch or dinner delivery
  • Let them know how much you appreciate everything they are doing!
  • Respite- can you help them have a day/night off?

Facility Caregivers

Facility caregivers are anyone who works in a nursing facility, long term care facility, assisted living, memory care, retirement community, adult care home or any other residential setting for seniors.  These caregivers are definitely underpaid for the amazing work they do.  Often, the companies they work for also have very strict gift-giving policies in place that can make it difficult to express gratitude.  As with private caregivers, check the company policies on gift-giving first.

  • Letter of recognition- This is one of the most personal gifts I can think of for a facility caregiver.  A letter touting their amazing skills with your loved one, the care and compassion they bring to work everyday, or they way that they bring a smile to the resident’s faces that they care for will go a long ways in showing your appreciation.  This letter could be given to an administrator as well to be put in the caregiver’s employee file.
  • Donation to the facility or organization the caregiver works for- Many care facilities will have an “employee bonus” fund that is split amongst the employees or direct care staff.
  • Donate on behalf of the caregiver- If there is no bonus fund to contribute to and/or the gift-giving policies are tight, donate to a non-profit or cause like the Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s Association, or Senior Wish Foundation in your area.  I found this great site that rates and links to charities if you need ideas.
  • Food, Coffee, Teas for the breakroom- and make it the good stuff.

Gifts for Caregivers: Not just for the Holidays!

Don’t just say thank you at the holidays, say it year round!  Let the caregivers in your life know how much they are appreciated.  A smile, pat on the back, a listening ear, and a willingness to help out are always welcome.  Don’t forget each November is National Caregivers Month, another special time to recognize the caregivers in your life.

Have any gift ideas we missed?  Add your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Philips Lifeline Review

Philips Lifeline Review

The Philips Lifeline family of medical alert systems now offers 4 options under their Philips Lifeline umbrella.   They offer the traditional home based medical alert system without fall detection, the Lifeline alert system with fall detection, a mobile (cellular) option, and a smartphone app.  We like options, and Philips Lifeline has built a nice business model based on consistent service over a long period of time.  This is one of the reasons we tend to recommend Philips Lifeline when folks ask us for medical alert system recommendations.

Product Info: Philips Lifeline

  • Name:  Philips LifeLine
  • Website Info: www.lifelinesys.comPhilips Lifeline Reviews
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  Optional
  • Cellular Option: Yes
  • Equipment Cost:  $0 for traditional medical alert system, $149 if you want mobile (cellular) option
  • Monthly Cost Starts At: $29.95 for in-home (no fall detection), $49.95 (with fall detection), $54.95 (cellular option/AT&T), $13.95 for Medical Alert Smartphone App.
  • All Lifeline Alert Systems Feature:  A waterproof (wireless) Pendant or Bracelet, In-Home Base Unit, 24/7 US Based Response Center.

Philips Lifeline Review

We originally published our first Philips Lifeline Review back in 2011.  The Philips Lifeline family of medical alert systems is now the number 1 provider of medical alert systems in the US with over 7 million served.  Founded in 1972, Philips Lifeline continues to provide top notch (US based) service to those that choose to patronize the Lifeline family of products.  Philips Lifeline is a premium brand which means you’ll pay a little more than the industry average for their services.  In exchange, you’ll receive US based response centers staffed with trained operators, ready to assist in case of emergency.  Here at The Senior List we can attest to our own high degree of customer satisfaction, as a family member has worn a Lifeline device for almost a decade.

Lifeline offers a number of options depending on the needs of the user today.  The base model is called their HomeSafe Standard option.  This is what we would refer to as a traditional in-home medical alert system.  It offers push button technology from a pendant, and is perfect for most users who want a traditional medical alert system.

If you’re worried about falls, Philips Lifeline offers a fall detection option called “HomeSafe Auto Alert”.  Philips boasts a “high detection rate of true falls”, but you should know that fall detection technology isn’t without it’s detractors/critics.  Those critics cite false fall alarms, as well as non-detected-falls.  Fall detection is a nice safety blanket to have, but you have to understand fall detection technology isn’t perfect (on any device).  You also pay quite a premium for fall detection.  It will run you $240 more per year than a traditional medical alert system.  IF on-board fall detection thwarts a critical medical emergency however… It’s worth it every time (and twice on Sundays).

For the user on the go, Philips offers a mobile (cellular) medical alert option.  This system utilizes a pendant that’s connected to AT&T’s wireless network.  You’ll need to purchase the cellular based pendant (a one time expense of $149) and pay a premium monthly payment to Philips that starts at $54.95.  We like the cellular based medical alert systems, and the monthly fees will ratchet down once there are more options in the marketplace.

The Bottom Line: Philips Lifeline

We like Philips Lifeline and we recommend them.  They are a premium player in the medical alert system space, and they’ve grown into the largest provider of medical alert systems in the US.  We’ve had family members use Lifeline for extended periods of time, and can attest to the fact that the Lifeline call center staff is both understanding and patient.  At times, confused adults can get into a pattern of repeated button pushing (we certainly ran into this).  Each time our family member depressed their pendant alert button, they were treated with respect and understanding (or we would have switched providers).  This is the kind of thing that goes a long way for families in crisis.  We’ll continue to recommend Philips Lifeline as one of only a few Medical Alert System providers that The Senior List will endorse.

If you’ve used the Philips Lifeline Medical Alert Systems or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

Exciting New Senior Care Companies Emerge

new senior care companies are excitingWe live in a very exciting time for senior care.  The combination of a quickly aging population, robust purchasing power, innovative technology and venture capitalists wanting in on the action is a recipe for some incredibly useful tools for older adults and caregivers alike.  A plethora of emerging companies have been welcomed by Aging2.0, a program designed to nurture and accelerate a select group of startups, and have our senses tingling with anticipation as well.  These companies have all been selected for the highly competitive Aging2.0 Academy where they will receive support, mentorship, and introductions to investors and customers to help them accomplish their goals.  Some of these companies are up and running, others are still in beta.  The future of senior care is here and we will be watching these emerging companies very closely.  Here are some of our favorites.

Caregiving/ Caremanagement

Care Monster is a caregiving app that supports family communication and encourages engagement when it comes to the care of a loved one.

CareMerge is a care coordination platform that forges meaningful connections between providers, payers, families and seniors to improve communication in today’s complex healthcare environment.

GeriJoy provides 24/7 companionship, supervision, and care management support through senior care avatars; improving quality of care, increasing safety, and lowering cost.

Roobrik is an online decision tool that helps family caregivers make difficult health and care choices with clarity and confidence.

Fall Detection/ Prevention

Active Protective produces smart garments that reduce hip fractures in the elderly by deploying micro-airbags to protect the hip in the event of a fall.

WalkJoy is a wearable device which reduces falls for patients with peripheral neuropathy by restoring the sensory feedback loop. The WalkingHealth software provides objective gait analysis, fall risk prediction and functional outcome data to therapists.

Tablets and Phones

Breezie is a simplified, personalized tablet interface designed for seniors and those less familiar with technology.

Gociety creates software that simplifies the smart phones interface for older adults. Their products, GoLivePhone® and GoLiveAssist®, are easily accessible and highly affordable.

Senior Care Planning

Everplans is the first comprehensive digital planning platform that allows families to create, store and share essential end-of-life wishes and emergency plans.

Vynca is a digital health company that provides cloud-based software for Advance Care Planning.

Communication Devices

Smartstones is the world’s first wearable, sensorial communication device, which connects family members and friends through simple gesture-based messages. *As a mom and a family caregiver, I can’t wait for this one to go to market.*

We will be following these companies and will continue to provide updates on the products and services they offer.  In the meantime, if you have experience with any of these services or products, please let us know in the comments below.

For a complete list of companies selected for the Aging2.0 Academy, visit the Aging2.0 website.