Is The Apple Watch Ready For Prime Time?

google.glass  Is The Apple Watch Ready For Prime Time?We had a great question from one of our community members that spurred some additional dialog about the the future of medical alert systems, and whether the Apple Watch might be in that future.

Susan asks resident tech expert TimOnTech: I was thinking along the same lines, Tim, but you expressed it much better than I….I don’t even know what an accelerormeter is. I used to joke if Tiffany made an alert pendant necklace, older women would love wearing it. The Apple watch looks cool.

I was thinking it probably also has a gps built in. (Do you know?) If so, help could be on the way very quickly even if the person couldn’t speak.

Thanks for the information and forward-thinking. possibilities.

Why is the Apple Watch receiving criticism in it’s first week of existence?

Unfortunately the Apple Watch needs some time to grow. Here are a list of why we don’t think its ready for seniors (or most consumers for that matter).

1. It’s not waterproof (no not even the sports edition). It is not even recommended to be worn in the shower.  This (to me) translates into “this Apple Watch isn’t even water resistant yet”.  This is a deal breaker for most of the sports nuts out there that expect to wear their watch wherever they go (including the pool).

2. It’s tethered to the iPhone. Hopefully it will have it’s own communication ability down the road so you don’t have to take your phone with you all the time. So now you have 2 devices that do largely the same thing.  One small… The other one SUPER SMALL.  As soon as we can take one or the other (or both) at our discretion, Apple will have a complete game changer.  For now it’s just a game changer. (Which isn’t so bad is it?)

3. Battery life of the Apple Watch is being called into question. They say you get a day’s worth of charge, but I suppose that the real numbers will become evident when they start shipping the Apple Watch (next year some time).  Again, let’s get to the point where we only need to plug these wearable gadgets in a couple times a week.  I know the brilliant engineers out there can do this!

4. The watch face is awfully small. Now my eyes are pretty good, but I don’t like reading on my iPhone 5S let alone a tiny watch… My iPad is about as small as I like to read on… So for the most rudimentary of tasks (like depressing an emergency call button) this might be just fine.  Replying to a text with a smiley face?  Probably fine too… but doing much more on the watch itself is going to be a struggle for most aging adults.

To read Susan’s original question and comment string click here on our article entitled; “The Next Best Medical Alert System”

apple watch 178x300 Is The Apple Watch Ready For Prime Time?

Apple Watch like Google Glass nice to have… Not need to have (yet)

So in summary, for now it’s probably a nice to have… Down the road (a couple years down the road) it may turn into a need to have. One nice wearable comparable is the Google Glass product. Even thought it’s not widely available, it’s been met with only mild enthusiasm. It’s a nice wearable comparable because it’s also an extension of one’s cell phone except plastered to ones face.

What’s your take on these exciting new wearable devices? Are they ready for prime-time? Are they following the typical evolutionary path to legendary gadget status?  Let us know your thoughts below!

The Next Best Medical Alert System

apple watch 178x300 The Next Best Medical Alert SystemIf you tuned into the Apple Live event yesterday you heard a lot about the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as Apple’s much anticipated wearable technology called the Apple Watch (nope it’s not called the iWatch).  The iPhones continue on their spectacular run of innovation including getting thinner, faster, stronger, and packed with new features like Apple Pay (think iWallet) and integrated health apps.  As you were watching the presentation I bet you weren’t thinking about the next best medical alert system! Well for good reason we were, and here are some thoughts on the future of this growing marketplace.

 

The Future of The Medical Alert System

As someone that follows the medical alert system industry closely, I can’t help but think that we might be seeing the future of medical alert systems before our very eyes.  The first thing I thought about when I saw the Apple Watch was that this is the first big innovation in medical alert systems we’ve seen in a long, long time.  How you ask?  Consider this: The Apple Watch already has build in sensors to tell you temperature, heart rate and a variety of other health related information.  There are already built in health apps that track daily activity which will be useful for family members to track how often their loved one’s are getting around.

iOS 8 Health App The Next Best Medical Alert System

This is the first big innovation in medical alert systems we’ve seen in a long, long time.

The Apple Watch has an internal gyroscope and an accelerometer which could lend itself to any myriad of inactivity or fall detections too.  Built in messaging could serve as useful reminders notifying the user when it’s time to take their medications, and how they should take them (with food, or not).  The possibilities are endless.

Right now the Apple Watch solution isn’t optimal  for a variety of reasons.  It’s new, it’s complex, it’s tethered to an iPhone, it may not be waterproof yet, etc.  The biggest reason this technology won’t be replacing the traditional medical alert system is that there aren’t many medical alert system replacement apps that are ready for prime time on the Apple Watch.  Here’s one industry observer that’s betting on a new simple medical alert application to be integrated into the Apple Watch for seniors.  In short order this could become the next best medical alert system on the market.  I think that in 5 years you’ll see some very useful apps come to market to address health needs that we haven’t yet dreamed of.  Should be a fun ride!

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

 

Do Your Research Before Buying A Medical Alert System

OneCall speaker Do Your Research Before Buying A Medical Alert SystemWhen consumers are faced with purchasing a medical alert system for a family member, they are typically in crisis mode, and generally prone to making rash decisions.  Don’t fall into this oh-so-common trap.  The Senior List is full of horror stories about folks that are trapped into long-term contracts, or faced with equipment that won’t function properly.  Before buying a medical alert system, it’s important that you DO YOUR RESEARCH.    Don’t think you can just jump on a particular brand and make a quick decision.  You might get lucky, but I don’t like those odds for most folks (and certainly not for our readers).

4 things you need to know before buying a medial alert system:

  1. What medical alert system options are out there?
  2. How reliable is the medical alert system?
  3. Is it easy to install and use?
  4. How much does it cost?

Let’s tackle each of these topics together so that you have a (more) solid base of understanding, and can make more informed choices down the road.

What medical alert system options are out there?

There are a lot of options out there, but the 2 biggest considerations here are;  Whether you need a traditional in-home (uses a home phone line) alert system, or a mobile (cellular based) medical alert system.

The traditional in-home medical alert systems utilize the home phone line, and the pendant alert buttons work like old cordless phones.  When depressed they communicate with a base station, and that base station makes the call (in case of emergency).  Most of these traditional pendant type medical alert systems work well, and have adequate coverage for an average size home.  Many of the pendants can be worn in the shower, and most have good battery lives.  These traditional options usually cost a little bit less than their cellular based cousins.

The mobile (cellular) based medical alert systems seem to be getting a lot of attention lately.  These have the range of a typical cell phone, and typically targeted at the more mobile  users.  These options are a little more functional but also carry a little more of a price tag on them.

Our advice:  If your loved one is not mobile and almost always in the home environment, a traditional pendant style medical alert is just fine.  If they get out to walk, garden, shop, or spend time with friends away from home, go with a mobile option.

How reliable is the medical alert system?

Well reliability is an interesting question, because frankly these medical alert systems aren’t (or shouldn’t be) complex.  You should ask about battery life, water resistance, range, average response times, and read the reviews of medical alert systems that you’re considering.  Generally if you go with a reputable company, they’ll take care of you.  If you don’t do your research and get stuck with someone that won’t back-up their product, you’re in trouble.

Our advice:  Take this list of questions you should be asking each medical alert provider and use it accordingly. (Pass this list on to anyone that can use it.  We hate seeing folks get burned!)

Is the medical alert system easy to install and use?

You’d think these things would be intuitive enough to set-up, test, and use… but in some cases they’re just not.  Take a look at the Verizon SureResponse Medical Alert System Reviews.  A quick read of the reviews tells you all you need to know.  We recommend you check other sources in addition to The Senior List, but yikes… These guys need to get it together.  Stick with manufacturers that will work with you if something goes wrong.

Our advice:  Make sure you don’t sign a long-term commitment until you’re 100% comfortable doing so.  IF a month-to-month is a bit more expensive but you’re still unsure.  Take it for a test drive, and consider it insurance (against making a bad medical alert call).

How much does it cost?

Traditional pendant style medical alert systems are going to run you between $20-$40 dollars per month.  I wouldn’t be paying more than $29 per month if I had minimal needs.  For cellular based models be prepared to pay just a bit more than the in-home models. Be advised that GreatCall has a nice mobile option that starts at $19 per month.  You don’t need to spend a lot to get what you need.  You just need to do your research!

Our advice:  In the end make sure you follow our top 3 rules when considering medical alert systems:  Research in advance, ask a lot of questions, and don’t get stuck with a long-term contract that you can’t afford or don’t want!

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

4 folks on the beach Top 10 Quotes About Growing OldFound a great quote about growing old this morning so I decided to scour the interwebs for a top 10 list.  Add your favorites to the list below!

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

  1. “Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn
  2. “I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” Albert Einstein
  3. “Do not try to live forever, you will not succeed.” George Bernard Shaw
  4. “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau
  5. “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” Bill Vaughan
  6. “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” Muhammad Ali
  7. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain
  8. “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Author Unknown
  9. “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” Satchel Paige
  10. “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard

There are so many more out there that should be on the list of top 10 quotes about growing old!  What’s your favorite?  My mother always used to say “Growing old is just a state of mind…” and it’s so true!  (Not sure where that one originated but I certainly like it.)

Photo: Natasha Hirtzel via Flicker

wrinkles Mark Twain Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

Do I Need A Hearing Aid? What To Expect Before You Buy

If you’ve ever wondered; Do I need a hearing aid?  You just might… Professionals will tell you that hearing loss is such a gradual decline that folks with hearing issues are usually the last to know.  Many times they blame hearing issues on others, believing friends are mumbling, or perhaps they’re “quiet talkers” (to steal a Seinfeldism).

Do I need a hearing aid?

News reporter Emily Robinson interviews Heather Bennett, an audiologist with Advanced Hearing Centers for some great tips on what to expect if you think you might need a hearing aid.  First step (and most obvious on the list) is to get yourself tested.  Find a local qualified resource that can professionally diagnose your specific situation, and get some unbiased information on what options are available to you.  A number of audiologists sell hearing aids and will likely want to sell you one that they stock.

Buying a hearing aid from an audiologist isn’t a bad idea, but understand what you’re buying before you take the plunge.  Search online for equivalent hearing aid prices, and don’t be afraid to negotiate with sellers.  Did you know that Costco is now in the hearing aid business?  Bottom line is that consumers need to do their homework more than ever.  The old adage about making a good purchasing decision still holds true to this day;  Buy right… Cry once.

 

 

5 Tips on Choosing A Medical Alert System Provider

OneCall alert 5 Tips on Choosing A Medical Alert System ProviderThe 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 a Medical Alert System Provider

    1. 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.
    2. 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.)
    3. 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!
    4. 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.).
    5. 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 and tips on choosing a medical alert system 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!

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

iPhone 5S and 5C Announcement

ainvite 300x234 iPhone 5S and 5C AnnouncementWell 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 iPhone 5s and 5c announcement.

  1. Anything special about this iPhone?
  2. When will it be available?
  3. What else with they tease us with?

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.

apple right back 285x300 iPhone 5S and 5C Announcement

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?

Philips GoSafe Medical Alert Systems Delayed

Philips GoSafe 300x210 Philips GoSafe Medical Alert Systems DelayedBack 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 Philips GoSafe Medical Alert System 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.

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide