On this day, Veteran’s Day 2013 The Senior List would like to salute all those that lay their lives on the line to protect our freedom, AND to defend those that cannot defend themselves.
The folks at OneCall Medical Alert reached out to The Senior List on Twitter and asked us to share some information regarding one of our favorite topics. That topic: “How to Choose A Personal Emergency Response System” (also known as a medical alert system). They offer some good advice that’s worth sharing. Weather you’re choosing a mobile medical alert system or a traditional (in-home) style medical alert system, you’ll want to make sure that the provider can answer the following questions (special thanks to the folks at OneCall):
Choosing the Right Medical Alert System
- Is the provider accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? The BBB’s mission is “to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.” The BBB says they “see trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.” That said, there are a whole lot of businesses that have high ratings on the BBB, and just like any directory site you can’t take it as the gospel. You’ve go to look around at other reputable review sites like Angie’s List and (of course) The Senior List.
- Are you locked into a long-term contract? We agree with the folks at OneCall. Unless you absolutely trust the medical alert provider you decide to choose, don’t sign a long-term contract! There are plenty of reputable providers out there that don’t push these silly contracts. Companies like GreatCall, Philips Lifeline and OneCall are good examples of no-contract alert systems. (*Note that OneCall does require 3 months of prepaid service at activation.)
- Does the medical alert provider have multiple emergency call centers? This is probably a good question to ask, but more importantly how dependable is the call center? If you search around for medical alert system reviews, you’ll probably receive some feedback on this topic. OneCall says that you should also “ask where their emergency call center is located, if they have more than one emergency call center, and if a contingency plan is in place in case a call center is shut down” (because of a storm or other natural disaster). These are great questions!
- Is the system easy to set up and test? You’ll want to be clear on how to set up the device in your home, AND how to test it (on a regular basis). Medical alert systems are not doing you any good if they aren’t in good working order. Further inquiries need to be made regarding maintenance (batteries need to be tested and/or replaced,coverage area needs to be tested and retested, etc.).
- Does the provider have flexible payment options? Most top providers do have options (monthly, quarterly, annual) but regardless of your payment option, make sure you understand what the implications are if your loved one decides to leave the provider (for another), or is no longer in need of the medical alert system (perhaps they move into a care facility, or they pass away).
These are great questions to ask when evaluating a medical alert provider. We’d recommend these questions in conjunction with our popular post entitled Medical Alert Systems: The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying.
Know Before You Go - It will save you one heck of a headache!
In follow-up to our earlier post prior to the iPhone 5S announcement today, we thought you might like to see the latest video’s for both the iPhone 5S and iOS 7. BTW for the record most of the rumors surrounding the new iPhone were right on point. Enjoy!
Latest iPhone 5S Video
Latest iOS 7 Video
Latest iPhone 5C Video
Well today is the day Apple fans. Apple’s much anticipated iPhone 5S and 5C are expected to be unveiled today at 10 a.m. PT. Just 3 questions remain ahead of this morning’s announcement; 1. Anything special about this iPhone? 2. When will it be available? and 3. What else with they tease us with? Our predictions follow:
What’s so special about the iPhone 5S?
Rumors have been swirling for months about the iPhone 5S and it’s cheaper cousin the 5C. The latest (feature) rumors include a dual LED flash, fingerprint scanner, longer lasting battery, faster processor, higher resolution, more color options, more RAM, more (storage) memory, better camera, and these beasts will ship with the new redesigned iOS7. IF you don’t have an iPhone 5 yet, it’s time to upgrade. IF you already have the iPhone 5, you might consider waiting for the iPhone 6 (unless you have $200-$300 dollars burning a hole in your pocket). A new gold colored 5S wouldn’t be enough for me to upgrade from 5 to 5S, but hey that’s just me!
When will the iPhone 5S be available?
Well if Apple follows their traditional pattern, it will be available on September 20th, which would be 10 days following today’s announcement. They could surprise us with immediate availability in some markets but that’s not likely. Note: The Apple Store is currently “down” and being updated.
What will Apple Tease Us With?
It could be on of a few things. First, wearables are all the rage. There’s been speculation about an iWatch all over the place. Samsung recently announced their Samsung Galaxy Gear SmartWatch (a connected iWatch like device) and apple has been rumored to be dabbling in wearables for some time now. Apple could also announce Apple TV enhancements, larger screen phones coming soon… (Can you say iPhone 6?), and/or an updated iPad line-up.
If you’re interested, click through to read our top 10 iPhone apps for Seniors 2012. We’ll be following all the action down in Cupertino… Will you?
Back in June we wrote about the delayed launch of Philips new flagship medical alert system called GoSafe. We wrote:
“The new Philips GoSafe product is the latest in a line of newer mobile medical alert systems which uses the same cellular signal as your cell phone. Instead of being tethered to a home phone-line, the consumer can take these new devices with them wherever they go (out to work in the yard, to the mall, or to a doctor’s appointment). This new mobility feature is what separates the new mobile devices from their traditional (tethered) cousins.” — The Senior List.com
Earlier this year, Philip’s representatives told The Senior List to expect a commercial launch of GoSafe around fall of 2013. Now Philips tells us GoSafe will launch sometime around December of this year. We aren’t sure what the delay is, but these things occur all the time in the medical device industry. Frankly, you’re better off getting it right (before getting out of the gate) when you have a product launch of this magnitude. You only get one chance at a national (or global) launch. All Philips has to do is look at Big Red (Verizon Wireless) to see how to screw-up the national launch of a much anticipated new medical alert system (we’re talking about you SureResponse). Someone once said “better to be safe than sorry”… We’re guessing Philips is taking this to heart, and wants to get it right the first time.
In advance of the launch, Philips has been putting together some marketing resources including this video (below). We’re actually excited for this entry into the mobile medical alert system market. The GoSafe has all the makings of brand-leader if Philips executes on their marketing strategy, AND focuses on customer satisfaction.
We’ll keep an eye on this sector as it continues to evolve. We’re guessing the best is yet to come when it comes to safety for seniors outside the home. The GoSafe might just be the best of the bunch, but we’ll have to wait and see.
If you’ve visited The Senior List before you know that we love to post about technology, and how it affects the lives of boomers and seniors. One way we do this is through product reviews, and another is through informative posts about the latest happenings in eldercare. Some of the most interesting information comes from YOU (The Senior List community). When readers become engaged, the comments come alive. When the comments come alive, we can all relate and learn from each other.
Top Home Based Medical Alert Systems
One example of this is a popular post we wrote back in 2012, highlighting many of the top home based medical alert systems on the market. That particular post offers a nice list of “tethered” (to a traditional home phone line) medical alert systems, with links to product reviews. What is really interesting is the feedback in the comments located below that article. There’s a lot of great information located on that page, and we’d like to thank those of you that have shared your experiences. One of our chief goals is to continue to build a community that offers advice to others… A helping hand if you will!
“When readers become engaged, the comments come alive. When the comments come alive, we can all relate and learn from each other.”
List of Mobile/Cellular Based Medical Alert Systems
If you’re searching for a list of mobile medical alert systems (cellular based), you’ll find that here on The Senior List as well. We’ve reviewed a number of the top alert systems for seniors including GreatCall’s 5Star, the LifeTrac SecuraTrac, and the SureResponse from Verizon. We’d like to encourage our readers to utilize the comments to voice your opinion following each post if you are so inclined. In doing so, you’ll be providing feedback to others that could prove extremely valuable in their search for the right fit (and function) for any of the devices we discuss here on The Senior List. Don’t forget to offer praise where it’s due either, there are a number of fantastic medical alert system providers out there offering great services to boomers and seniors.
If you (or someone you know) is currently using a medical alert system, we encourage you to take our Medical Alert System Customer Satisfaction Poll (located in the right hand side-bar). Have a great weekend!
Latest Product Review: SureResponse Needs More Product Support
The Verizon SureResponse is one of the newer medical alert systems on the market today. This entry has great features in this space, HOWEVER Verizon’s execution thus far has been far from satisfactory. The SureResponse is mobile/cellular driven, offers GPS tracking, and can connect your loved ones to caregivers (or family members) if necessary.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an updated product review based on feedback from users in our community. Click here to read the original SureResponse review and note the community comments. You’ll note in this original that we stated that we’d “be looking forward to monitoring their success with this mobile medical alert system” and (with your feedback), many now have a new outlook on this device. We do expect Verizon to improve their support of this product in the future.
Product Info: SureResponse Medical Alert
- Name: Verizon SureResponse
- Website Info: Verizon Wireless – SureResponse
- Auto Fall Detection? : No
- Equipment Cost: $229.99 (retail) OR 19.99 with a 2 year plan (note: early termination fees will apply)
- Monthly Cost: $30 per device (also requires a $35 activation fee)
- Features: Lanyard, Wrist Strap and Belt Clip Accessories Included, Water Resistant Panic Buttons, Untethered 24/7 Monitoring on a Cellular Network (Verizon Wireless), GPS Tracking (must be enabled and shared/volunteered), Convenience Calling, and an Online Portal to help manage lists of caregivers etc. (called SureResponse Online)
Review: SureResponse Medical Alert System from Verizon
As we noted above, Verizon’s SureResponse mobile emergency response system looks great, and has the financial backing of a leading mobile provider. It stands to reason that this device should be at the top of our list when it comes to mobile medical alert systems but thus far, the support for the product hasn’t been there. We like the form factor but it looks bulky on the wrist (uncomfortable) and we doubt many people would want to wear it there unless it gets much smaller. It’s bigger than traditional pendant alert systems, but it does more than they do. If a pendant option is chosen, it may look like your loved one is wearing a small cell phone around their neck. We’re guessing this will be worn on the belt clip or kept in a pocket, although from an accessibility standpoint we do like a pendant option. This device lacks fall detection, but then again so do the others in this space (at this time). We probably wouldn’t trust this device in the shower. Until Verizon discloses a little more about just how water resistant the SureResponse is, we’d keep it out of the water.
OK now for the good stuff… From a product standpoint, we think this looks like a great option. If (or when) the company gets their act together (and gives it the support it requires), it could be a great product. The ability to be UNTETHERED is something that many folks are looking for (especially at comparable price points to tethered solutions). It’s backed by a reputable company with relatively transparent terms and conditions. Also the (optional) GPS tracking is a nice feature on these cellular based medical alert systems. If the Verizon tracking feature is not activated, it is only used in the case of an emergency (so emergency personnel can locate the person in need). Here’s another item worth mentioning- if your loved one needs to go into a nursing facility (under the existing terms and conditions) they ARE eligible to opt out of their 2 year agreement. There are specific details associated with this “second right to cancel” so read the T’s & C’s carefully.
The Bottom Line:
We want to see more from Verizon in terms of product support. The Senior List even reached out to Verizon (back in March) in hopes that they’d respond to customer issues/inquiries but we’ve heard nothing. Given this is new to the market and new to Verizon, we’re going to take a wait and see approach. If we’re talking about the same support issues a year from now, we might as well scratch this one off the list. We still think the SureResponse by Verizon is worth looking into. If Verizon supports the product like they should, it will be near the top of our list of mobile options. For now, we’ll put them on our watch list.
Click here to read the original SureResponse Review and note user comments
If you’ve used the SureResponse Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below and provide a star rating!
Before you retire, you might want to think about a strategy that many boomers are considering and implementing right now. That strategy is called pre-retirement. An interesting article in Forbes recently caught my eye. It was entitled “The Best Cities For Boomers To Pre-Retire“. Forbes’ notion was that “If retirement is closing in, you might want to move to an alluring metropolitan area where you can work full-time today and then switch to part-time down the road“. Think of it as a test drive for permanent retirement…
My spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word pre-retirement, and maybe you don’t either. Our definition of pre-retirement is a strategy of setting yourself up for your later years. It involves planning and analyzing each of the variables that allow you to live (the life you want to live) in retirement. Things like; What kind of car do you drive (or want to drive)? How often can you afford to dine out? And, where should you live when you retire?
Forbes cited a recent posting from Nerdwallet.com that lists their top 10 “Best Places For Baby Boomers“. It was based on some pretty smart criteria. Things like affordability (based on cost of living index), healthcare accessibility, the ability to lead an active social life, and public transportation services. Here are their top 10 places for baby boomers:
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio
- Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- Baltimore-Towson, MD
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
- Louisville/Jefferson County, KY
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
- St. Louis, MO
- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA
Make sure to visit Nerdwallet to understand their criteria, and for further information on their top destination cities for boomers.
It’s not surprising that Baby Boomers are spending more than their older or younger cohorts. It’s not surprising because baby boomers have the numbers, and boomers have the disposable income! A recent article appearing on NBC News.com points to the fact that “those 55 and older spent more time last year in a booth, on a bar stool or waiting at the drive-thru. Those between the ages of 55 to 64 visited restaurants on average 220 times last year, the highest of any age bracket”.
There isn’t an industry around that doesn’t keep an eye on the baby boomer generation. Given the recent news about boomers health being worse than previous generations, 78 million boomers should be looking for good food, a decent gym down the street, and other lifestyle changes that will lead to better future outcomes. Industries that cater to boomers in those areas should do quite well over the next decade.
A new study by the CDC indicates that death rates related to prescription drug overdose have skyrocketed 400% among women (compared to 250% among men). The 11 year CDC study entitled “Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women – United States, 1999-2010″ showed that between 1999 and 2010, the rates of prescription drug overdose has grown precipitously, but especially among the women in the study.
“Although more men die from drug overdoses than women, the percentage increase in deaths since 1999 is greater among women. More women have died each year from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle–related injuries since 2007.” – CDC Report; “Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women – United States, 1999-2010″
Healthcare providers are more focused than ever on prescription drug monitoring programs to track patients, the scripts themselves AND to monitor physicians that prescribe these drugs. Nobody doubts the benefits of pain management in (or outside) the home, but the overdose rates are alarming. In their conclusion, the authors state that “Public health interventions to reduce prescription drug overdose must strike a balance between reducing misuse and abuse and safeguarding legitimate access to treatment.” Easier said than done, but shining a light on this issue is really the first step. Step 2 is figuring out how to manage the changes necessary to prevent overdoses and death.
See below for your state’s (age-adjusted) death rates among women during 2009-2010 (courtesy of CDC).