Driving Refresher Courses For Seniors

Driving Refresher Courses For SeniorsVision, hearing and reaction times begin to slightly lag over the years and coming to grips with this may lead to fear that one day you won’t be able to drive anymore. So, rather than living in denial and waiting for this to inevitably happen, be proactive and look for driving refresher courses for seniors!  Not only will this hone your skills as a older driver, it will also save you a lot of money on insurance rates, as it will prove that you have stayed on top of being a responsible driver.

According to CBS News, one in five drivers will be over the age of 65 within the next 15 years, so senior-driver improvement courses are going to become more common.

Taking Courses can Lead to Big Savings

Insurance companies offer a wide variety of driving refresher courses for seniors. Leading companies offer brain-training courses to seniors, and those who pass receive discounts on their otherwise higher premiums, as their elevated age is often considered risky. Various studies conducted by the state of New York have found that drivers in their late 70s have the same number of injury-involved accidents per mile driven as drivers in their early 20s.

Drivers who are 85 years of age and older are injured or killed in crashes more then any other age group — meaning they are more dangerous than a freshly licensed teenager in a sports car. These stats reveal the importance of driver-improvement courses. Those seeking senior car insurance have options to reduce rates and even earn discounts from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). A little research can unearth the knowledge needed to pursue the best possible insurance option.

Defensive Driving

Seniors can also improve their driving and insurance prospects through defensive-driving training. It’s the same as the defensive-driving test younger drivers take to keep points off their driving records when they receive a moving violation. The courses are regularly revised with up-to-date information about driving laws and techniques. Courses are available online for those who want to study in the privacy of their own homes. Face-to-face defensive-driving courses are usually located at classrooms with parking lots and traffic cones.

You can also just follow a few rules on your own to improve your driving as a senior. Driving at or just below the speed limit on surface streets will help to lessen your chance of getting into an accident. However, don’t drive too slowly — slow driving is a major cause of accidents. Sit high enough in your car to see at least ten feet in front of you and add a cushion if the seat won’t adjust high enough. Try not to drive at night very often, as your vision will be challenged.

The more you work on your driving, the longer and more safely you will be behind the wheel, enjoying the freedoms of driving a car.

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Seniors

We’ve written extensively over the past year about senior friendly cell phones AND the ever evolving smartphone revolutionDumb phones and smartphones alike have a a niche in the digital ecosystem when it comes to active older adults.  For those seniors who have taken the plunge, and bought into the iPhone or iPad, we thought we’d focus on a few of our favorite iOS apps for 2012.  Here are some of those that we love:

The Top 10 iPhone Apps for Seniors

1.  NPR – This is a great (free) app that features current news stories that NPR is following.  You can read stories, listen to them and even share them using the NPR app.  One of the most popular features is the ability to listen to your favorite shows on-demand.  You can catch the latest “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”, “Talk of the Nation”, and “All Things Considered” right at your fingertips.

2.  Facebook – More and more seniors are utilizing social media these days.  Did you know that according to the PEW Internet and American Life Project 1/3 of seniors age facebook app for apple65 and older are using social media sites like Facebook, and 18% are using them daily!  Older adults want to share just like young people want to share.  They want to share experiences, photos, and interact with family and friends.  This is a free app and fairly easy to use.

3.  The Weather Channel – Another free app that is a must have.  It’s on all of our iPhones, and is very easy to use.  It’s extremely easy to program your favorite The Weather Channel app for iPhonedestination cities into the app so you can see how the weather is in Portland, Austin, Denver and Miami (all with the swipe of a finger).

4.  Pandora – Pandora is an app that lets you listen to the music that you want to hear.  This free app lets you create custom Pandora stations that play music in the same genre of the Pandora app for iOSstations you create.  Create a “Neil Young station” and you may get songs from Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Stephen Stills, and maybe a little Fleetwood Mac… You get the picture.  This is one of our very favorites, and it has become a staple for internet streaming music.  This app is to streaming music… what Skype is to video conferencing!  The user interface (UI) is very easy to use.

birthday reminder pro an app for iOS5.  Birthday Reminder Pro – Birthday Reminder Pro is a paid app ($.99) but it does what it says it’s going to do.  It reminds you of friend’s and family member’s birthdays so you never miss them again!  This app lets you import birthdays from Facebook, or from your contacts.  You can also program in birthday reminders for those that aren’t in your social networking circles yet.  Provides notifications in advance of special days.

6.  MedWatcher – “MedWatcher was created in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiologic Health” (iTunes).  This (free iOS) app pushes safety MedWatcher app for iTunesalerts for medical devices and for drugs to your Apple driven mobile device.  It also allows the user to report adverse events (and side effects) directly to the FDA.  This feature has the potential to make devices/drugs safer for everyone involved.

magnifying glass app for iPhone7.  Magnifying Glass with Light – This (free) app is recommended for those that may need a little extra visual enhancement while reading a menu, or perusing a map.  Acts like a magnifying glass and also has a light associated to help distinguish those little things even more.

8.  CNN – As far as news apps go, this one is very good.  CNN has a free news app that stays up to date and is easy to use.  This app has a live TV option as well as “sharing” capabilities to CNN appemail your friends or post articles of interest on social networking sites. We like apps that just work… and this is one of them.

My Medical App for iPhone9.  My Medical – My Medical is a paid ($2.99) record keeping app that stores your pertinent medical information and history.  My Medical doesn’t just keep one (1) medical record, it allows you to keep multiple records so the user can keep track of a spouse’s info, kids immunization records, and all kinds of medical records.  This app would make sharing medical information with specialists, etc. very easy, and it would give emergency department personnel additional information should they need it.  This app requires users to enter in private information, but we see real benefits to doing so if the app is secure/private.  Interestingly, the data inputs are kept on the mobile device (phone) and not on a remote server (though The Senior List has not confirmed this at this time).

10.  WebMD – A free app that helps with decision support tools that enables the user to obtain information on disease WebMD an app for iPhonestates, diagnose symptoms, and improve upon ones health.  It’s an app with a very high rating on iTunes and can provide valuable information to the person that invests time in it.

If you have other favorites please let us know in the comments section.  We’re very interested in sharing other apps that can make a difference in someone’s life!

Senior Placement Agencies Portland Oregon – Finding a Niche

Senior Placement Agencies Portland OregonThis weekend’s Oregonian featured an informative article entitled “Senior placement consultants help clients find care communities that fit their needs“.  It’s a story about how placement and referral services can help families find senior housing, and act as expert liaisons between community and client.  Senior List co-founder Amie Clark (who also owns and operates The Senior Resource Network) was featured in the article, as was colleague Jennifer Cook (with Living Right Senior Placement).  The key to finding the right placement agency is to find an agency that has the best interests of the client at heart.  A placement agency needs to be well informed, aware of state filings, and personnel should be credentialed.  In the Portland metro area, there are over 250 assisted living/memory care facilities and over 1,000 adult care homes to navigate, so having an expert on your side makes all the difference.

Senior Placement Agencies Portland Oregon

“Finding the right fit between our clients and a community makes all the difference in the world” says Clark.  “We do the leg-work for the client ahead of time, like reviewing state records, understanding the level of care provided, and in some cases policing monthly service costs.  Even the little things like how good the food is, or social/recreational services become big things when your loved one moves into a care community.”  Amie and Jennifer are both members of OSRAA, The Oregon Senior Referral Agency Association.  The association regulates local agencies by requiring member agencies be in business for 3 years minimum, AND meet standards and ethics requirements.  Click through to read how placement and referral agencies can help find senior-housing solutions in your local area.

Life Alert Product Review

Life Alert Product ReviewLife Alert Product Review: Life Alert has been in business since 1987.  This is the medical alert system endorsed by Dr. C. Everett Koop (former surgeon general).  Life Alert boast an installed base of 150,000 users of their medical alert products (nationwide).

Product Info: Life Alert Medical Alert Systems

  • Name:  Life Alert Medical Alert
  • Website Info: http://www.lifealert.org
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  no
  • Equipment Cost:  $0
  • Monthly Cost:  $49
  • Features:  Waterproof Pendant, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring

Life Alert Product ReviewReview: LifeAlert Medical Alert System

The Life Alert medical alert system is an option when looking for traditional medical alert protection for a loved one.  They’ve been in business for a long time, and have a large installed base (they say 150,000 across the US).  One thing to consider when evaluating Life Alert is weather you want to sign the 3 year agreement that is required for service.  Many other medical alert system providers do not have this provision and offer month-to-month agreements.

The Bottom Line: LifeAlert

Another good choice for traditional in-home medical alert technology.  We don’t like the idea of signing long-term contracts for medical alert systems, but as with any of the medical alert system (or fall detection) companies, make sure you read the fine print.

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

Product Review: The Wellcore Personal Emergency Response System

**Note: This product is no longer available in the US Market**

The Wellcore Personal Emergency Response System stormed onto the market in early 2010 with a great deal of enthusiasm , and then disappeared mysteriously from the market just as abruptly as it appeared.  It remains OFF the market at this time, and a Wellcore Personal Emergency Response Systemcompany representative told The Senior List that “We licensed our fall detection technology last year, and have since discontinued shipping the product to end customers“.  The below review is an fyi just in case we see this mysterious fall detection device resurface sometime soon…

Product Info: Wellcore Personal Emergency Response System

  • Name:  Wellcore Personal Emergency Response System
  • Website Info:  www.wellcore.com- *this site no longer exists*
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  Yes
  • Equipment Cost:  $199
  • Monthly Cost:  $49
  • Features:  Brushed Aluminum Belt Clip, Water Proof Panic Buttons, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring, Auto Fall Detection, Activity Tracking, Online Dashboard (for activity tracking, etc), Cell Phone Compatible

Review: The Wellcore Medical Alert System

Even though the Wellcore fall detection device is OFF the market, it sounds as though a deal may be in the Wellcore Personal Emergency Response Systemworks and that we could see it again sometime this year (licensed away, but perhaps re-branded).  Given this assumption, we’ll include this system in our review of Medical Alert Systems.

The Wellcore Personal Emergency Response System is one of the new PERS/Fall Detection brands on the block.  Launched officially at CES 2010’s Silver Summit, the Wellcore alert system touts a “brushed aluminum” base station and mobile device with a contemporary design.  Like most/all of the other manufacturers, the mobile alert buttons are waterproof.  The base station will remind the user to to wear their mobile device if forgotten.

The Bottom Line: Wellcore Alert System

The Wellcore System incorporates Fall Detection Technology that automatically senses when a user has fallen (even if they don’t press the panic button).  If the user is unresponsive to the base unit’s inquiry, help is summond by a call center.  Interestingly, The Wellcore system can be paired with a “Wellcore-compatible cell phone” to provide fall detection on the go (anywhere within the cell phone’s coverage area). Also includes an online dashboard with secure access for monitoring and activity trending data.

If you’ve used the Wellcore Medical Alert System with Fall Detection or know someone who has, please let us know your opinion in the comments section below

**Note: This product is no longer available in the US Market

Product Review: The Alert1 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 150,000 customers to date.

Product Info: Alert1 Medical Alert System

  • Name:  Alert1 Medical Alert System
  • Website Info: http://www.alert-1.com
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  no
  • Equipment Cost:  $0
  • Monthly Cost:  $25.95-$29.95
  • Features:  Waterproof Pendant and Wristband Alert Buttons, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring, Easy to Navigate Website, Easy Termination Process, US Based (contracted) Care Center

Review: The Alert1 Medical Alert For Seniors

Alert1 (formally known as AlertOne) provides an economical choice for traditional Medical Alert Systems.  With over 150,000 families having used the Alert1 to date, it would seem that they have a lot of experience to draw from.  Alert1 offers pendant necklace and wristband alert button (options) as well as extra room and hallway buttons.  The Alert1 website is easy to navigate for visitors, which is oddly unique to this market.

The Bottom Line: Alert1

A good choice for traditional in-home 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 pendant style alert systems.

If you’ve used the Alert1 Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

Product Review: Connect America Medical Alert System

The Connect America Medical Alert System is yet another traditional in-home medical alert system.  They’ve been in business since 1977 and boast of 100,000 users of their medical alert products.connect america medical alert

Product Info: Connect America Medical Alert System

  • Name:  Connect America Medical Alert
  • Website Info: http://www.medicalalert.com
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  no
  • Equipment Cost:  $0 (required security deposit)
  • Monthly Cost:  $29.95
  • Features:  Waterproof Wrist, Pendant, or belt clip (alert button options), Wireless, 24/7 Monitoringconnect america medical alert system

Review: Connect America Medical Alert

The Connect America Medical Alert is a traditional Medical Alert push button device.  There business model seems inexpensive to get started with…  No upfront device costs.  You can order their system (base unit, and one emergency button – pendant, wrist watch, or button clip options) .  Be advised that the equipment must be returned in good working order when you are finished with their services or you’ll be charged $359.40.

The Bottom Line: Connect America

Another good choice for traditional in-home medical alert technology.  No equipment to purchase and no long-term contracts make this well established company someone to look at when in need of in-home medical alert monitoring.

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

Product Review: Life Guardian Medical Alert

There are a number of new offerings from Life Guardian these days.  Today you can choose from a traditional pendant style in-home panic buttons or a new GPS enabled cellular phone with fall detection technology.  Other offerings include the talk thru wireless phone pendant (called the Sentry), and over-the-phone assistant services.

Product Info: LifeGuardian Medical Alert SystemLife Guardian Medical Alert Review

  • Name:  LifeGuardian Medical Alert System
  • Website Info: www.lifeguardianmedicalalarms.com
  • Auto Fall Detection:  Available on gps enabled phone (not on other products)
  • Equipment Cost:  $199
  • Monthly Cost:  $24
  • Features:  Belt Clip, Wrist Band, and Pendant Alert Buttons, Water Proof Alert Buttons, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring, Equipment Purchase or Rental Options, gps enabled phone (with fall detection)

Product Review: Life Guardian Medical Alert

The LifeGuardian Medical Alarm System is a traditional Medical Alert System (or PERS) and they’ve been around for over 20 years.  They don’t offer “automatic fall detection” outside of their cellular phone product, but they do offer a wide variety of mobile alert options including a Life Guardian Medical Alert Reviewswristband, a belt clip, or a pendant (all waterproof) style panic buttons.  You can purchase or rent the equipment and mobile devices with pricing plans dependent on the term/commitment (none longer than a year) with no cancellation fees.  Roaming up to 600 feet away from base stations.

The Bottom Line: LifeGuardian

LifeGuardian has 4 basic options to consider when looking for a medical alert system: 1. Traditional in-home Medical Alert System (Pendant + Base Unit connected to call center).  2. Talk Thru 2-Way Voice Pendant (talk thru Pendant + Base Unit connected to call center).  3. GPS Enabled Cell Phone with Fall Detection (Cell Phone only).  4. Emergency Phone Dialers (Pendant + Base Phone Unit dials pre-programed list of contacts- no call center).  We like the list of choices here… Options are good.  We’ll interview the company in a subsequent review.  If their customer service and product performance is up to par, we’ll add them to our list of Senior List Preferred Providers.

We’d like to hear from you.  If you have experience with any of LifeGuardian’s medical alert options, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Product Review: The MobileHelp Medical Alert System

MobileHelp Medical Alert System ReviewA mobile medical alert system offering onboard gps, and a connection anywhere there is a cellular signal (available on AT&T).  This type of cellular based system makes a lot of sense for someone that needs the security of a medical alert system inside and outside of the home.

Product Info: MobileHelp Medical Alert System

  • Name:  MobileHelp Medical Alert System
  • Website Info:  http://www.mobilehelpsys.com
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  No
  • Equipment Cost:  $n/a
  • Monthly Cost:  $39.95
  • Features:  GPS enabled wireless handheld (connected to AT&T Wireless), pendant style alert button for in-home use, waterproof pendant, base station/charging unit

Review: MobileHelp Medical Alert

There are elements of the MobileHelp (Medical Alert System) that are definately the wave of the future.  This system works like other Medical Alert Systems, but with one major difference… This one has a GPS enabled Alert Button connected to AT&T’s wireless’ network.  It “untethers” the user for freedom away from home.  As you’ve noticed in our Medical-Alert-System-Roundup here on The Senior List, most of the traditional alert systems work within a 600 foot radius of the base unit.  This system, does have the traditional pendant for use in the home (like the other manufacturers) but they also provide a hand-held unit that connects to AT&T wireless. This allows someone to take this device with them to go shopping, to visit friends, or even to take on a vacation with familiy.MobileHelp Medical Alert System

This bundle does not include Fall Detection, but the GPS enabled handheld device is definately a bonus (and yes, it comes with a pouch for your belt).  The bundle will cost the user $39.95 per month, and that price does include the service plan with AT&T.

*If your phone system is using VOIP (voice over internet protocol) like many of the major broadband carriers, make sure that the device you choose is compatible with your phone telephone service provider.

The Bottom Line: MobileHelp Medical Alert Systems

We expect that we’ll see more and more of these cellular network based systems hitting the market over the next several years.  They allow the user all of the safety benefits of the traditional medical alert system without being tethered to a base unit (as in traditional in-home systems).  This appears to be a nice option for the boomer or senior who is on-the-go.

If you’ve used the MobileHelp Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please let us know your opinion in the comments section below

Click this link for a list of Local Personal Emergency Response System Providers located at The Senior List Provider Directory

UPDATE: MobileHelp Acquires Halo Monitoring To Expand Fall Detection Product OfferingThe Senior List Reports

Philips Lifeline Reviews

Philips Lifeline Reviews

The Philips Lifeline with Auto Alert is a very popular medical alert system that utilizes a pendant style medical alert button.  The backing of a highly established (well branded) company behind the product makes it a “comfortable choice” for families that want to know who’s behind the product. Philips Lifeline Reviews to follow.

Product Info: Philips Lifeline w/ Auto Alert

  • Name:  Philips LifeLine With Auto Alert
  • Website Info: www.lifelinesys.com
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  Yes
  • Equipment Cost:  $0
  • Monthly Cost:  $40-$53
  • Features:  Wireless Pendant, Wireless Bracelet, Water Proof Panic Buttons, 24/7 Monitoring, Auto Fall Detection, Cordless Phone Base Unit, CarePartner Communicator Base Unit

Product Review: Philips Lifeline with Auto Alert

Philips Lifeline with AutoAlert utilizes the pendant form factor, and alerts a call center (with integrated fall detection technology) if the user cannot.  They now offer a number of integrated medical alert system product accessories for seniors including:

  • The traditional Lifeline device/pendant
  • The traditional Lifeline alert device/wristband
  • A Lifeline pendant with AutoAlert (Fall Detection)
  • A base station that integrates with the above mobile devices
  • An cordless phone that integrates with their medical alert services

The Bottom Line: Philips Lifeline w/ Auto Alert

The integrated options (noted above) make them one of the leaders in the medical alert/PERS arena.  Their website says that monthly service fees start at a “little more than a dollar a day”.  Actual cost is $40 per month for standard medical  alert (pendant and intercom), and $53 per month for the fall detection device.  We spoke with their customer service personnel and they were quite professional.

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