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Alert1 on Senior Care in America

Updated 8/13/15 11:45am | Alert1 keep seniors safe at home with our fall detection medical alerts. Our range of senior medical alert systems protect over a quarter of a million Americans at home. But try as we might, Alert1 can’t solve all the problems older Americans face. Seniors tackle diseases like Alzheimer’s that wrack their bodies. They endure social issues like elder abuse that wreck their souls. But perhaps worst of all, seniors struggle against the American eldercare system.

In the United States, 50 million seniors rely on Medicare. Yet 80% of doctors don’t discuss aging with their patients. Pensions and retirement funds dwindle. Yet housing and medical costs skyrocket. A National Institutes of Health study reported that seniors now spend almost half of their income on housing and utilities. How can someone enjoy their golden years with such little gold?

As Lillian Rubin points out in her book, 60 on Up: The Truth about Aging in America, “…getting old sucks. It always has, it always will.” But does it have to? Below we suggest four simple ways to improve senior safety and senior care in America. Because who wants life to suck? (Not we at Alert1!)

First, accept that aging is a process

esthetician. alert1 medical alert systems

Our society treats aging as a chronic disease. Nowadays seniors can look ageless with the help of a simple procedure. In 2013, the world spent $262 billion on anti-aging products and services, including creams, Botox, and plastic surgery. But aging isn’t a condition; it is a certainty. You can spend all the money you want, but age only goes in one direction: up. Our physical appearances will age. Our bodies will grow frailer. Our minds will slow down. And that’s ok.

Accept yourself in your aging and accept those around you. Go so far as to embrace the benefits of being wiser and more experienced. As Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out, “To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.”

Second, manage your aging process

Doctor consultation. alert1 medical alert systems

 

Regular senior checkups are vital to determining your senior health. Talk to your doctor about the things you notice changing in your mind and body. There are exercises to sharpen your brain just as there are to hone your physique. You just have to ask. If you feel yourself struggling to keep your balance, your doctor may recommend a medical alert system. Some, like Alert1, come with automatic fall detection. What a great way to manage possible trips and falls!

When in doubt of yourself, remember: “It is not how old you are, but how you are old.” – Actress Marie Dressler

Third, don’t just do what the world expects

angry old man. alert1 medical alert systems

Frankly, the world expects you to slow down and dodder. It’s no offense to you, but that’s what young people think. And, as you grow older, there’s just more of the young ones than there are of you. They can’t see the beautiful mind that rests within faded looks. The lovely and wise Sophia Loren reminds us: “There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love.  When you will learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.”

So don’t slow down. What you are great at, do more of. If you love running, enter your first marathon. If you’re a reader, pick up that five-book Game of Thrones series. If you’re a classical guitarist, try writing a hip-hop song. The great thing about being older is that you have nothing to lose. So go get ‘em, tiger. What are you waiting for?

Finally, take a stand

Many of us grew up in households where mom did most of the nurturing. The gender roles persist into our aging process. In California, 77% of in-home caregivers are women. Most of those women drop out of the workforce to care for their families. The caregiving that these women provide amounts to $400 billion of unpaid or lost wages!

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If we are serious about providing great care to our most aged citizens, we should pay these caregiving women. The Federal government could pay them outright, or we could reform the tax treatment of caregiving. Caregivers with relatives as dependents may qualify for a tax credit if their income is no greater than $3,900. To claim a dependent, the caregiver must have provided 50 percent or more of their relative’s care.  If we value caregivers, and by extension the seniors cared for, we would increase that amount. If we value care at a higher level perhaps we can get a higher level of care.

We should also expand Medicare to pay for services that support caregiving. Much of what is covered by Medicare includes health expenses without consideration for living care for seniors at home. As much as they care, family caregivers cannot spend every waking moment watching out for someone. For the times they must leave the room or look away, they could rely on simple aids like medical alert systems for seniors to support them. Our governments should provide such lifesaving systems free of charge to our citizens.

 

First Lady Rosalynn Carter once remarked that “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers; those who currently are caregivers; those who will be caregivers; and those who will need caregivers.” How right she was. We will all be at least one in our lifetimes. Why not be the best caregiving country that we can be?