iPhone App Reviews: CareBeacon iPhone App

iPhone App Reviews: The CareBeacon Medical Alert

I recently tested the CareBeacon fall detection (and inactivity) app for iPhone.  The app functions like a mobile medical alert system and notifies loved ones of falls by utilizing the accelerometer  and GPS (global positioning systems) functions in the smart phone.  The app is free for the first 30 days and is available from $8.33 per month (if you sign up for the year) to $12.99 (on a month to month) after the initial trial.

The CareBeacon app is great for those who have an existing iPhone and who carry it with them at all times.  The app will work wherever the phone has a signal and is not confined to the home like many traditional personal emergency response systems.  The pre-determined friends and family will be notified if the user does not answer the “Are You Ok?” prompts after a period of inactivity or a fall is sensed.  The time to sense inactivity can be adjusted by the user, from one to 15 minutes.  If the phone senses a fall, it sends a text and/or voice messages with the users location.  The friends/family would then contact the user and emergency services if needed.

iPhone App Reviews | CareBeacon | Likes and Dislikes

What I liked:

  • Conceptually utilizing the mobile phone functionality for active adults (that just need a safety blanket) makes a great deal of sense
  • For those that carry their mobile phone all over the place, it’s always with you
  • Accelerometer should work as well as other mPERS (mobile personal emergency response system) or better, though phone’s location on the body could make a difference in sensitivity for the fall algorithm
  • Simple to use and simple to set up
  • Designate friends and family (to contact in case of emergency) as you wish
  • Price is right when comparing it to traditional or mobile medical alert system subscriptions

What I didn’t like:

  • You have to have an iPhone (no Android version as yet)
  • If you don’t have adequate service coverage (from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) you don’t have a functioning app
  • Only calls friends and family no direct 911 calling (this isn’t so bad as long as someone answers)
  • 15 minute inactivity alarm started bugging me, CareBeacon may want to adjust this to allow for less frequent check-ins
  • Price is high IF you’re comparing it to other apps on the iPhone app store

CareBeacon 268x300 iPhone App Reviews: CareBeacon iPhone App

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
If you've used this product (or service): Please RATE your experience and COMMENT below!
Rating: 4.1/5 (8 votes cast)

Book Reviews: Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver

planahead cover 200x300 150x150 Book Reviews: Plan Ahead: Tools for the CaregiverBook Reviews:

While there are many books for caregivers and senior care in general, few are able to distinguish themselves as part workbook, part resource and part guide.  The author, Walt Sonksen has done a nice job putting all three together in this easy-to-read caregiver workbook.  In this book, Walt shares life experiences, as well as those lessons learned  from the deaths of his own parents.  The book encompasses many aspects of family care…  Such as gathering personal information and wishes, transition planning, safety concerns, caregiving options, financial and legal issues, and community resources.

 This handbook is meant to be used before a crisis so the family and their designated caregivers can spend more quality time with their family member.

Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver is a workbook that can be used and written in and is small enough to fit in a purse or tablet pouch.  This is a tool that you will use over time and will add to it as you go along the journey of caregiving. Some of the information is specific to Oregon and Washington, the author resides in the Northwest, however a reader who is resourceful will be able to access similar information for their own area.   The book is geared to the adult caregiver and is focused on senior care, but could apply to any caregiving situation (dependent children, etc…).  Throughout the book you will find checklists, tidbits, personal stories and encouragement.  Several well-respected leaders in the elder care field are also contributors to topics like senior living options, downsizing and moving, and mental health.

The book can be purchased on Amazon for a list price of $16.95.  Additional details and a downloadable Emergency Medical Packet are available at the website, www.planaheadtools.com.


 

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.

 

 

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?

Medical Alert System Ratings and Reviews

eCare+Voice Medical Alert System Ratings and ReviewsIf 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.  Our community loves to share information when it relates to medical alert system ratings and reviews, and we’ve got all the top systems rated here on The Senior List.

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 SureResponse lanyard Medical Alert System Ratings and Reviewsincluding 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!

Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made Simple

02 Call Selection Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made SimpleMany of today’s seniors living at home don’t have a son or daughter next door.  The interaction with immediate family may be limited to phone calls, occasional visits, and holiday gatherings.  Video Care has developed a personal communication tool with a unique approach to solving the long-distance caregiver gap by combining complex technology with a simple, elder friendly interface.

Video Care brings face-to-face companionship and interaction to the elderly through a touch screen system that requires no mouse, keyboard or computer skills to operate.  A touch of the screen opens a two way video screen with a family member, caregiver or friend.

Video Care was kind enough to send me one of their systems to check out and see exactly how easy it would be for a senior with little or no computer skills.  I was very impressed with the simplicity of the unit and ease to set it up.  In addition to using two-way-video, loved ones can also share instant photos, videos and music.  Video Care also offers a nifty senior app if you want to share videos and photos directly from your smartphone.   The system can also be set up for medication, appointment, and activities of daily living reminders. Loved ones will be notified if the user does not respond to the reminders.

06 iPhone Delivery Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made Simple

05 Reminder Dialog Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made Simple

For professional caregivers, Video Care allows remote visits without the cost and time of driving to the home.  Clients can be checked on several times a day for a fraction of the cost of a typical home care visit.  Geriatric care managers could also use Video Care to check in with caregivers already in the home as a quality assurance tool, or as a problem solving option (in the case of any unusual behavior or symptoms).   Video Care is currently being used by in-home care agencies and geriatric care managers as a value-add to their current client base (I think this is a fantastic idea by the way).

I had the opportunity to speak with David Trescot, Co-Founder and CEO of Video Care.  One of my favorite stories he told me about Video Care users was about a daughter and her elderly mother who turn on Video Care every morning and use it as a “window” into each other’s homes.  They chat, have breakfast together, and go about their day with the two-way video all day long.  They’re able to participate in each other’s lives, and the daughter has peace of mind each morning when she sees her mother appear on the screen.

The other aspect I love about Video Care is that it can be used along the continuum of care for a loved one.  Video Care can operate from any location that has internet access (wireless works too).  I imagine the transition into assisted living or a skilled nursing facility could be greatly eased with daily check-ins and support from family and friends, even if they live on the other side of the world.

I look forward to following Video Care and others that will follow in the exploding telehealth and aging-in-place space.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
If you've used this product (or service): Please RATE your experience and COMMENT below!
Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)

Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System

SureResponse lanyard Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert SystemLatest Product Review: Sure Response Needs More Product Support

The Verizon Sure Response medical alert system is one of the newer medical alert systems on the market today. This entry has great features in this space, HOWEVER Verizon’s execution of the Sure Response Medical Alert System so 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: Sure Response Medical Alert

  • Name: Verizon SureResponse
  • Website Info: Verizon Wireless – SureResponse
  • Auto Fall Detection? : Nodocking station Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System
  • 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

wearable emergency device Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert SystemAs 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.

verizon wireless tweet2 Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System

verizon wireless tweet1 Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System

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!

Video:

Read More:

Mobile Help Acquires Halo Monitoring to expand fall detection offering

Medical Alert Systems: Products and Reviews

Life Alert Product Review

The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Medical Alert System

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
If you've used this product (or service): Please RATE your experience and COMMENT below!
Rating: 2.5/5 (33 votes cast)

New Philips Lifeline GoSafe Launch Delayed

Philips GoSafe 300x210 New Philips Lifeline GoSafe Launch DelayedA Philips Lifeline employee has confirmed to The Senior List that their much anticipated launch into the mobile (cellular based) medical alert system market has been delayed for unknown reasons.  The “limited launch” of the Philips GoSafe mPERS (mobile personal emergency response system) occurred this past January at CES 2013, but the official consumer-launch has yet to take place.  It should be interesting to see who comes to market first between Philips and MobileHelp.  MobileHelp has been trying to get their new incarnation of the myHalo alert system to market as well, and both companies are playing the “coming soon” game online.

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 doctors appointment).  This new mobility feature is what separates the new mobile devices from their traditional (tethered) cousins.

IF Philips is able to bring this device to market soon, they could have a big advantage over their competition.   Healthcare strategist and Senior List co-founder Chris Clark commented on a likely (Philips) go-to-market strategy; “Philips should be able to take advantage of their huge installed-base, and segment that market into home-based vs. mobile candidates.  The perfect plan would be to execute an upgrade strategy for the mPERS candidates in their existing customer pool in-conjunction with going after new customers.”

Philips now anticipates putting the new GoSafe device in consumers hands this fall.  It will be fun to see these new mobile players duke it out for market share in the lucrative mPERS space.  If only they could get to market!

Product Review: Spiky Shoe Grips

heeltoe Product Review: Spiky Shoe GripsWhile we don’t recommend that anyone walk around on icy surfaces, we are thrilled to learn about a product that can make that walk a little less treacherous.  We already know that one out of three adults 65 and older falls each year and that those falls lead to a high rate of Traumatic Brain Injuries, fractures, and increase the risk of early death.   The good folks at Spiky have a unique product that can easily be billed as fall prevention.  Spiky shoe grips for your feet!

Spiky shoe grips works like a studded snow tire for your foot.  It’s a lightweight rubber pullover for each shoe.  They can be worn on both icy surfaces and concrete without wearing down the steel spikes.  They can also be worn indoors, however we wouldn’t recommend wearing them on nice wood floors or other hard surfaces, unless you are going for the “distressed” look for your floors.  These would be ideal for anyone who lives in an area that has snowy, icy winters.  In fact, I’m going to send a set of these to my grandmother who insists on getting her mail everyday, despite the conditions outside.

Spiky offers two products- The first is a Spiky Sling which has spikes in the front (toe area) of the rubber sling only.  The second Spiky product is the Spiky Plus which offers an extra set of spikes in the heel area of the sling.  Both can be worn with all types of shoes from work boots to high heels.  The Sling retails for $24.95 and the Plus for $29.95.  If you plan on buying 5 or more, the price per Spiky decreases.

pic walking with spiky 300x300 Product Review: Spiky Shoe GripsWe had the opportunity to have a face-to-face with the Spiky Plus.  The rubber feels strong and durable, although might be a challenge for older hands to get on a shoe.  The steel spikes are inset in a way that does not pose a danger to small children or fragile older skin since they are not cut to a point.  Once on a shoe, they are lightweight and can even be worn while driving.  The Spiky is compact and can easily be stored in a purse or coat pocket.   Since we don’t have any snow or ice in our neck of the woods right now, we aren’t able to comment on their effectiveness in the elements, but will provide an update to this review once we have a chance to get to the mountain.  For additional information about Spiky products or to place an order, visit their website at www.spiky.com.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
If you've used this product (or service): Please RATE your experience and COMMENT below!
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Winner Of 5 Star Medical Alert

congratulations2 300x160 Winner Of 5 Star Medical AlertThe Senior List is proud to announce the winner of the GreatCall 5 Star Medical Alert System drawing.  If you’ll recall The Senior List wrote a review of GreatCall’s mobile medical alert system called the 5 Star5Star box 205x153 Winner Of 5 Star Medical Alert.  This is one of the latest in a line of mobile medical alert systems that use cellular networks for location based services, as well as a safety net outside the home.  Friday at noon we held a drawing for those that shared our review (on Facebook or Twitter).

Winner of 5 Star Medical Alert System Giveaway

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of our drawing is Nance Nicholls.  Nance, feel free to contact us here or we’ll reach out to you via our Facebook page.  We’ll send it out to you right away (and there’s even a month worth of free minutes left on the device)!

Congratulations Nance!  Let’s do this again soon-

Have a great weekend everyone!

Amie

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
If you've used this product (or service): Please RATE your experience and COMMENT below!
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)