I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

I've fallen and I can't get UpWe decided to activate The Senior List Time Machine today, and bring you the very first commercial where the iconic term “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” was uttered.  It occurred back in 1989 for a medical alert company called LifeCall.  The commercial was so campy it was a bit alarming (pun intended).  After “Mrs. Fletcher” falls, she yells those magic words to the dispatcher (reaching her through the base station) cementing LifeCall’s place in history.

The “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” ad had the double misfortune of being unintentionally campy and appearing often on cable and daytime television. The fact that the commercial was a dramatization (as clearly stated in the beginning of the commercial) using bad acting also contributed to the humor. The combination made “I’ve fallen… and I can’t get up!” a recognized, universal punchline that applied to many comedic situations. All of these factors made the ad memorable, ensuring the line’s place in pop culture history. — Wikipedia

Original Video: I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

We write a great deal about the best medical alert providers out there, and offer advice on how to shop for medical alert systems.  Today seemed like a good day to reflect back on the start of the medical alert revolution.  An industry that exploded with 7 simple words… “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.  Thanks Mrs Fletcher, for putting this industry on the map. Oh, and we’re sending help immediately! :)

Beware Of Memorial Day Scams

Memorial Day ScamsThere are miscreants around that wish us harm, and want to prey on the most vulnerable among us.  (OK that’s putting it a little strongly…)  But seriously folks, but don’t you hate the solicitors that will waste our time and take our money with upcoming scams like the Memorial Day scams we’re being warned about today?

We’ve written extensively about the medical alert scam that has been circulating for the past few years now.  Incredibly, regulators can’t seem to stop the scammers, so it continues to go on and on.  Click the link that follows if you want to hear a recording of the medical alert scam

Memorial Day Scams

Today, the Better Business Bureau (serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington) sent out a warning that scammers have their sights set on ripping off military personnel.  Yes, I know you want to find the scammers in their homes and do bad things to them :) it’s incredible to imagine.

Here’s what the BBB had to say:  “As families prepare to honor fallen service members this Memorial Day weekend, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington reminds the public that scammers have their sights set on ripping off military personnel.  Con artists often use malicious tactics to steal the money and identities of deployed troops and military families.”

Here are some of the tactics that solicitors will use if they get you or your loved on on the phone… This from the BBB statement:

  • Phone Scams: Impostors pose as Veterans Administration employees and call to “verify” personal information, sometimes using scare tactics like VA benefits cancellations to collect birthdates, Social Security numbers and bank account information.
  • Rental Listings: Cyber thieves create bogus online rental listings and lure in potential victims by offering military discounts, requiring that deposits and rent be wired to “landlords” who are out of the country.
  • Military Loans: Sketchy lenders promise “instant approvals” and no credit checks, but loans often carry extremely high interest rates and hidden fees.
  • Insurance Policies: Solicitors make false statements or inflate claims regarding the benefits of policies they offer, using high-pressured sales pitches to sell expensive—and often unnecessary—life insurance policies.

Memorial Day Scams

What we can do as respected community members is to educate ourselves on these scam artists, and then – educate others.  Talk to your loved ones (especially your aging family members) about the phone solicitors out there that want to take their money, steal their identity, or worse.

List of Scams that are Currently Circulating

Sweepstakes scam that targets Seniors (letter, email, text and phone)

FTC consumer complaint notification (email)

Foreclosure rescue from Hope Services (phone, email)

Help for earthquake victims in Nepal (in-person, phone, email)

Don’t be a victim this Memorial Day (or any other day), and help educate others on the many scams facing us today.

What are you hearing out there?  Receive any weird solicitations recently?  We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Who Is Olive Garden Targeting These Days?

Olive Garden BreadsticksOlive Garden has been in the news lately… A lot!  After being skewered by investors last year, Darden Restaurants (owner of Olive Garden family of restaurants) is attempting to focus on building the brand, and defining it’s new customer experience.  In September of last year, Darden was forced to defend many of it’s policies including (astonishingly) it’s stance on bringing complimentary breadsticks to the table.  (I hope they didn’t notice the private jet… Oh wait they did, sorry Darden.)

The fact that folks were talking about this semi-newsworthy tidbit was cause for concern to Olive Garden regulars, and cause for parity in late night talk show circles like Jimmy Fallon’s.  Here’s Jimmy’s take on “BreadStickGate”:

Having eaten at Olive Garden a good many times in my day, it looks like a solid bet that they’d be targeting boomers and seniors. Boomers alone are 78 million strong, and they currently make up a good portion of the folks I see when I’m visiting our local establishments. By the way… they’re the ones with the money (and time).  In my view, a logical play would be to make the experience better for the obvious target market here… Baby Boomers!

For this reason I was astonished to hear one contributor to the “Motley Fool” mention that after shedding the Red Lobster brand from their portfolio, Darden would do well by targeting a “younger demographic from a much more diverse background” (not exactly sure what that means – maybe he’s inferring boomers but it’s not clear).  His comments below:

So who is Olive Garden targeting these days?  I can’t imagine that they’re going to go after the Millennials (born 1982 – 2004), or the Generation Y folks (mid 70’s – mid 2000’s).  Even Generation X (1965 – 1984) may be a stretch.  Try as they might, they’ll likely settle back down to you baby boomers, which is going to be their sweet spot… Or their salty spot if we’re still talking about those tasty (unlimited for now) bread sticks!

Looking for Senior Discounts on Restaurants? Click Here –> Senior Discounts on Dining Out

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Finding The Best Cruise Deals

best cruise dealsEver wonder how to find the best cruise deals?  There are a lot of great resources out there, and we picked from some of our favorites to bring you a list of tips. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) between 2003 and 2013, demand for cruising worldwide increased 77 percent, from 12 million to 21.3 million passengers. The CLIA says that “Florida remains the center of cruising in the United States, with its five cruise ports accounting for nearly 62 percent of all U.S. embarkations.”  Following Florida, are California, Texas, and New York (each had more than 600,000 embarkations).

Best Cruise Deals (tips from the pro’s)

NBC News.com says:

  • Book during the January-through-March “wave period”.  This is “traditionally the cruise industry’s busiest booking period. During this time, cruise lines make about 35 percent of their annual sales”.
  • Call the cruise line directly as a first step (get a quote and ask if there are any special deals out there)
  • Check the cruise booking websites (like cruise.com, icruise.com, 1-800-cruises.com and cruise411.com).
  • Call a travel agent.
  • Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate.

One thing to know before you meet with a local travel agent is that many charge consulting fees for their time with you. Like many independent travel agents, luxury cruise specialist Lucy Hirleman, president of Berkshire Travel in Newfoundland, N.J., charges new clients a $50 nonrefundable trip deposit fee. –NBC News.com

Cruise Critic.com says:

  • Look for last minute cruising deals.  60-90 days to departure can be a treasure trove of last minute travel deals
  • Be on the lookout for off-peak travel times (holidays are likely to have premium prices attached to them)
  • Be flexible
  • Take the car.  Taking the car means you won’t be paying for last minute airfares, and that can save you money too!
  • Access Military, Senior or Residency Rates. A number of cruise lines have special deals for seniors, military personnel and teachers.

Access Military, Senior or Residency Rates. A number of lines have special programs for seniors, military personnel and even teachers. Norwegian Cruise Line provides discounts to U.S. and Canadian military vets on select sailings. And for AARP members, it offers a 5 percent discount on any cruise booked at least nine months in advance. Holland America even goes so far as to offer discounts on select sailings to teachers, EMTs, firefighters, police officers and active military. Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s director of public relations, told us that, while fares vary, they’ve typically been $50 to $100 below going rates. — Cruise Critic.com

Clark Howard.com says:

  • Be flexible with your schedule.  When you’re looking for cruise deals, make sure you look at the cost-by-week to take advantage of the best deals.
  • If you’re buying your first cruise, don’t buy online.  You should have someone helping you like a travel agent, or a live cruise specialist. They’ll ask you about your interests and recommend cruises that will fit your lifestyle.
  • Clark likes the cruise website VacationsToGo.com.  They offer a number of cruise deals to be had, and highlight deals on their site.  They also acknowledge discounts for seniors and others!

The number one rule right now about cruising is be flexible with your schedule. The week you go will control how much of your wallet you leave behind on the ship. The same exact cabin could cost you as little as a third one week what it might cost you the very next week. — Clark Howard.com

Photo credit: Robert Pittman/Flickr

There’s lots of saving to be had if you’re patient, and you do your research! Have any other tips on getting the best cruise deals? Let us know in the comments below!

New Study Finds Correlation Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease

A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JIC) found a correlation in both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.  Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine found that elevated blood glucose levels stimulate the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, which is a key factor implicated in sufferers of Dementia (and specifically those with Alzheimer’s disease).

While the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s has long been suspected and studied, the newly discovered link could help researchers develop treatments that reduce the harmful effects of elevated blood sugar on brain function, lead author Shannon Macauley, Ph.D., told reporters. — John Hall (McKnight’s)

This isn’t the first such research to suggest the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.  In December 2006, Edward R. Rosick (DO, MPH, DABHM) wrote a compelling article for Life Extension Magazine suggesting a”Deadly Connection Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s“.  In his research nearly 10 years ago, Dr. Rosick noted that “those with insulin resistance or diabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing one of today’s most devastating and incurable neurological disorders: Alzheimer’s disease”.

Research like the diabetes studies noted above, inch us closer to treatments that could stave off or even cure somebody of Alzheimer’s Disease.  More focus, funding and analysis is necessary however, in order to scale back the growth of these pending epidemics.  Did you know the Alzheimer’s Association reports that 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease?  200,000 of those people are under the age of 65!  We encourage you to take good care of yourself (and your loved ones), to get yourself educated on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, and support your local community advocates (like the good folks at alz.org).

Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease

Product Review: The Alert 1 Medical Alert

The Alert1 Medical Alert System is a good option for a traditional in-home medical alert system.  They boast 20 years of Alert1 Medical Alertservice and over 250,000 customers to date.

Product Info: Alert 1 Medical Alert System

  • Name:  Alert 1 Medical Alert System
  • Website Info: http://www.alert-1.com
  • Auto Fall Detection?:  yes
  • Mobile (Cellular) Option?: yes
  • Equipment Cost:  $0 for traditional alert, Fall Detection and Cellular Option have one-time set up fees (see details below).
  • Monthly Cost:  $25.95-$35.95 (depending on monthly, quarterly, or annual plan)
  • Features:  Waterproof Pendant and Wristband Alert Buttons, 2-way communication on mobile option, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring, Easy Termination Process, US Based (contracted) Care Center, 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

Review: The Alert 1 Medical Alert For Seniors

Alert 1 (formally known as AlertOne) provides an economical choice for traditional Medical Alert Systems.  With over 250,000 families having used the Alert 1 to date, it would seem that they have a lot of experience to draw from.  Alert 1 offers pendant necklace and wristband alert button (options) as well as extra room and hallway buttons.   In addition to the traditional medical alert system offered by Alert 1, they have added a Fall Detection and Cellular option to the list of products to choose from.

Alert 1 Fall Detection

Alert1 Fall Detection Pendant

Photo Credit- Alert1

The fall detection option from Alert 1 is a small comfortable pendant that boasts a two-year battery life span and is 100% waterproof.  The pendant works up to 600 feet from the base unit, so make sure to place the base unit in a central area that reaches all bathrooms and other high fall-risk areas.  A one-time activation fee of $35, monthly plans start at $30.95.


Alert 1 Mobile (Cellular) Option

Alert1 Mobile Cellular Alert

Photo Credit: Alert1

The cellular option from Alert 1 is called the Kelsi; a mobile medical alarm that gets help with the push of a button anywhere in the U.S.  So, for those who are not home-bound, this discreet option requires no base station.  It also has a microphone and speaker to enable two-way communication and is waterproof.    The battery works for up to 2 months on a single charge, which is longer than other mobile options we have seen.  No equipment to purchase, the Kelsi has a one-time activation fee of $50 and monthly plans start at $35.95.

The Bottom Line: Alert 1

A good choice for traditional, fall detection, and cellular medical alert technology.  No equipment to purchase and no long-term contracts make this well established company someone to look at when making the choice of medical alert systems.

If you’ve used the Alert 1 Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

This post contains affiliate links. We only consider affiliate relationships on products that we recommend to friends and family.

How To Buy Medical Alert Systems – Top Questions To Ask

Lively Safety WatchesWe’ve written extensively about purchasing medical alert systems, and offered tips for consumers to get the best value when doing so.  This is not an easy industry to navigate.  There are really good providers out there, and some not so good.  Many medical alert providers even try locking consumers into long-term contracts so they can hold you hostage – regardless of your satisfaction levels.  A word of warning… There are still medical alert providers that practice this long-term-contract policy… None of those providers are recommended by The Senior List.

Years ago, we offered up a top 10 list of questions to ask, when buying a medical alert system.  We wanted to offer a blanket of protection in the form of a checklist so you didn’t get taken by providers that didn’t have your best interest at heart. Conversely, we’re very happy to advocate for those medical alert providers that we believe offer the best services.  These are the same providers that we recommend to our friends and family, and we send them business all the time!  That’s the back-bone of The Senior List… Enabling consumers to make quality choices among the best providers in the market.  We do the research ahead of time, so you can focus on your loved one and their care needs.

Since our old top 10 list is a bit dated, (and geared toward traditional in-home medical alert systems) I thought I’d offer up these general questions to get you started on the right foot:

Top 10 Questions to Consider When Buying Medical Alert Systems

1.  Do I need a traditional in-home medical alert system or a cellular based medical alert system?  Click here for more on this –> Traditional vs Cellular Medical Alert System 

2.  Am I comfortable trying out one of the newer medical alert systems on the market, like the Lively Safety Watch or the QMedic Smart Medical Alert?  They may not have the history of some of the traditional providers, but these guys are legit.

3.  Does someone install this for me or do I install it myself?  Is there help available to guide me through the process?

4. Who staffs the call center, where are they located, and what are the average response times?  How are they trained?

5.  Do I need automatic fall detection?  The auto fall detection feature is available on many models of medical alert systems, but not all. It automatically notifies the call center if it thinks the user has fallen.  There are limitations to fall detection technology, and this “fall detection” feature has both strong advocates and strong detractors.

6.  Does the medical alert system come with other services like medication reminders, or anything else?  Do those additional services cost extra?

7.  Is this device mine to keep, or am I required to return it when I’m finished with it?  Am purchasing the device hardware?  You’ll want to ask this question to be clear.

8.  Can I cancel my contract at any time?  Don’t get locked into long-term contracts with no out clauses.  You’ll find that the provider has no incentive to provide quality service if they’ve got you shackled for a year or more.  (Yes we’ve heard horror stories of 3 year contracts…)  You need to know if there are penalties of any kind for canceling my service agreement?

9.  What is my total monthly cost?  Is there an incentive for pre-payment?  Do you return pre-payments if I cancel my service?

10.  Is the medical alert system covered under a warranty?  What happens if something goes wrong with the equipment?

medical alert systemsIf you’d like more help and/or additional resources to help you purchase medical alert systems, browse around The Senior List, we have a compendium of articles to help you through this process.  Also, visit our Medical Alert System Buyers Guide as it has a lot of great information as well.

Have any other tips to add?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

New PBS Documentary On Family Caregiving

Caring for Mom and DadIf you’re a family caregiver, or want to know what caregiving is all about, you need to watch the new PBS documentary entitled “Caring for Mom and Dad”.  A family caregiver is a person who provides “care” to a family member, a neighbor, a partner or even a friend.  According to the National Center on Caregiving, there are 43.5 million caregivers provide care for someone aged 50 (or older).  Baby Boomers are facing a tidal wave of caregiving needs, and many boomers are caring for a parent at home.

Informal caregiver and family caregiver are terms used to refer to unpaid individuals such as family members, partners, friends and neighbors who provide care. These persons can be primary (i.e. the person who spends the most time helping) or secondary caregivers, full time or part time, and can live with the person being cared for or live separately. Formal caregivers are volunteers or paid care providers associated with a service system. — The Family Caregiver Alliance

The need for caregiving services at home has given rise to burgeoning businesses that offer home health services, home care services and hospice care.  Most of us simply aren’t well equipped to take care of our aging loved ones.  Understanding the needs of dementia sufferers, or more specifically – the demands of someone with alzheimer’s disease can take on new meaning when coming face-to-face with these prospects.  How comfortable would you be bathing your mom or dad?  Would you know what to do?  Would you even know how to transfer them?

The new PBS documentary “Caring for Mom and Dad” puts the caregiving conundrum into context.  It focusses both on the challenges of family caregiving… and the beauty of family caregiving.  It’s a time when life comes full circle for many of us.  Our parents, who nurtured us and cared for us as children have increasingly crucial care needs that require attention. Because we love them so much, the tug to provide care is always present.

View the trailers to the documentary above, and when you have time – Watch the entire documentary here –> Caring For Mom And Dad – A PBS Documentary on Family Caregiving. The video is almost an hour long (54:19) so you’ll want to clear some time.  If you do, I assure you it will be well worth your time.

Are you a family caregiver?  Have some tips for our readers?  Leave us a comment below!


Tips for Getting the Best Senior Discounts

Tips for getting the best senior discounts

Senior discounts are everywhere, but they can be elusive!  These top tips will help you find the best senior discounts wherever you are.

Tip #1: You Have to Ask

Our experience and feedback from our online community suggests that no one is offering these discounts at the register.  Not wanting to offend customers or give away the store, companies may offer discounts that are posted in small print or not at all.  Senior discounts are not something to be ashamed of using or asking for.  They are an appreciation of loyalty and recognition that many seniors are on a budget.  Some discounts start as early as age 50 and can benefit the not-yet-seniors too.

Tip #2: Price Matching = Discount Matching

I’m going out on a limb with this idea, but tell me what you think.  You may be familiar with the practice of “price matching” at popular retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot and Staples.  For businesses who don’t offer specific senior discounts, ask about discount matching.  Does the retailer match discounts offered by competitors?  If so, could they honor a competitor’s senior discount (even though they may not call it a senior discount)?  If not, let them know that they should!  If enough customers are asking about and encouraging these discounts, they will come.  *We found this nifty price comparison app to help you find the best shopping deals.

Check out our Deals and Coupons


Tip #3: Have the Best Senior Discounts at Your Fingertips

There are several good websites that keep track of senior discounts.   If you have a smartphone, there plenty of senior discount apps, these are just a few we like to find deals on the go.

Senior Discount Apps

  • SeniorDiscounts App– An iPhone and iPad app that makes searching for discounts easy.  You can enter a specific category, business name, or look for discounts around you.   App Store: $1.99
  • GoodRx App–  Andriod and iOS app that helps you find the lowest on prescriptions.  Also offers a free prescription discount card to save money on prescription and even pet medications!  Free
  • SeniorSavings App– An iOS app that offers more than 200 discounts.  Details like age restrictions are also listed for specific discounts. App Store: $1.99

Senior Discount Sites

  • TheSeniorList.com– We publish updated lists each year for the best senior discounts we and our online community have identified.  Check out this link to find the printable version of senior discounts for 2015.
  • SeniorDiscounts.com– A directory of over 250,000 senior discounts.  Offers both a free and premium memberships to access discounts.

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Tip #4: Join a Senior Benefits Organization

While there is plenty of musing over the political leanings of senior membership organizations, there is no denying the benefits of membership to these influential groups.  AARP (age 50+, $16/year), AMAC (age 50+, $16/year) and ASA ($15/year) all offer member-specific benefits and discounts.

Do you have tips that we missed?  Include them in the comments below!

See our best senior discount lists here:

Senior Discounts: Restaurants, Grocery, Prescriptions, Retail, Travel

We’re here to help you find the best deal from the best providers.  Some of the providers on our site 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.

Funeral Directors May Not Tell You This

Source: 10 Facts Funeral Directors May Not Tell You | Fox Business

Funeral Directors might not tell you this

Terry Sheridan over at Fox Business wrote an excellent article about making funeral arrangements, and the money you can save by being a better informed consumer.  As with many things, caring for aging parents is infinitely more difficult when a crisis hits.  One of the most difficult issues occurs when we lose the ones we love.  It’s usually at this point when certain things have to be done… and what we really want (and need) to do is grieve.

The average cost of a traditional funeral, including embalming and a metal casket, is almost $6,600, according to the most recent data from the National Funeral Directors Association. Cemetery services, including the gravesite and vault or liner, can cost an additional $3,000, says Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance. — Terry Sheridan/Fox Business

Nobody wants to think about the death of a loved one.  But planning ahead (as hard as it is) can alleviate a lot of heartache down the road.  Identifying a funeral director that you want to work with before a crisis hits, can really pay off in the end.

Funeral directors are business people, not ministers. But people often think they are quasi-clergy, Slocum says. Make that mistake, and you’ll tend to believe everything they say, he says.”Remember, funeral homes are in business to make money,”– Fox Business

Here are a few tips from the article, but we recommend that you visit Fox Business to get the list in it’s entirety:

Planning For A Funeral

  1. Shopping around can save you thousands (do this ahead of time, before a crisis hits)
  2. You must be given clear prices up front (there is an FTC mandate to do so)
  3. Funeral directors aren’t clergy (they’re business people)
  4. Some “required” services are not required (like embalming or expensive caskets)
  5. Cremation services can save you some money (You can even buy your urn at Costco)
  6. You can buy a casket anywhere (you don’t have to buy one from the funeral director)

The bottom line is to accept the cold hard facts.  We’re all aging, and as hard as it is, we can help prepare for the inevitable.  We can help make preparations for our own funeral if we’re of sound mind and body.  We can also make preparations for the funerals or memorials of our loved ones.  Make yourself an informed consumer on this topic in your local area.  Talk to a few funeral directors, and get a feel for whether you’d like to work with them down the road.  Understanding your loved one’s wishes is important too.  If they want a small service with family only… Or their ashes scattered on their favorite beach… I believe those wishes should be honored.

Do you have experience planning memorial services?  Any tips for our readers?  Let us know in the comments below!