Weve all seen the commercial with the infamous line: Help, Ive fallen and I cant get up! The advertisement itself may have been a bit melodramatic, but it raises an important question: what should seniors do if they actually fall and cannot get up?This is where a medical alert system can be critical.What are Medical Alert Systems?Medical alert systems, sometimes referred to as life alert devices, are emergency monitors for seniors to use as they go about their everyday lives. Many medical alert systems are used in the seniors home. These usually consist of a base unit and sensors that are mounted on the wall of the home. These types of systems can detect a fall in the home and trigger an automatic call to emergency services.Some systems also come with a portable option for the senior to wear wherever they go. The main feature of mobile options is the help button. When an emergency such as an injury or fall occurs, seniors can press this button to send out an alert and get the help they need.Oftentimes seniors wear these portable monitors around their neck like a long necklace, on their wrist like a bracelet, on their belt loop, or in their pocket. These monitors should be small and portable so the senior can wear them at all times, and waterproof so they can wear them in the bath or shower a common location for falls.How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?Most medical alert systems allow for real-time tracking through the use of voice, data, and GPS technology. This is important because it gives emergency services the seniors exact location in case of an emergency.With a mobile device, seniors can press the help button after a fall to alert emergency personnel. An in-home system will automatically alert emergency services when it detects a fall. Many basic systems simply alert emergency services once the help button is pressed. More elaborate systems are connected to a 24-hour call center that fields the emergencies and determines the next move. They are able to either alert the seniors emergency contacts (set up ahead of time) or send for emergency services if needed.Who Should Use Medical Alert Systems?All seniors could benefit from having a medical alert system, since you never know when an incident may occur. But, these emergency alert buttons are especially important for seniors who live alone or are aging in place. If a senior who lives alone has a fall and no one is there to help, a medical alert system is not just beneficial; it can actually be lifesaving.Additionally, wearing a medical alert system is one way for seniors to maintain their independence at home while still being prepared for an emergency. And it also provides peace of mind for family members and caregivers that their loved ones can access help in case of an emergency.Why Should Seniors Use a Medical Alert System?The main reason for seniors to use a medical alert system is to allow for fast action in case of a fall or other emergency. According to the CDC, around 36 million falls are reported among seniors every year. Falls can be caused by a number of reasons, such as certain health and cognitive conditions, loss of muscle mass, and weakened eyesight, reflexes, and balance. They can also be caused by unsafe footwear or safety hazards inside and outside the home, like steps, rugs, spills, and clutter.Falls should be taken seriously when they occur. Falls are the leading cause of accidents, serious injuries, and accidental deaths in seniors. To that end, emergency departments treat 3 million seniors for injuries from falls every year. That is more than 8,000 falls every day.The risk of falling can also be a major source of anxiety for seniors, as falls can threaten their independence, mobility, and physical health.Oftentimes when a senior falls, they need help from someone else to regain their balance and get back up. But, if they live alone or no one is around, they may not be able to get themselves up at all. Being stuck on the ground for a long period of time is extremely dangerous for seniors and prolongs their risk of serious injury. Therefore, getting help quickly after a fall is key. With a medical alert system, even a senior who lives alone can have peace of mind that help is available when they need it all at the push of a button. How Much Do Medical Alert Systems Cost?As with all technology, the price of medical alert systems can vary based on equipment, activation, monitoring type, extra devices, and additional features.Some companies allow you to rent their medical alert system equipment, and some require you to buy it. Buying the items may cost anywhere from $50-$350 depending on the type of equipment.In addition, many medical alert systems charge a monthly fee to use their service. This fee pays for access to the 24-hour emergency call center.Generally, the service cost for at-home medical alert systems is around $25 per month or $239 per year. The service cost for on-the-go-devices is slightly more expensive at around $30-$45 a month. Sometimes there is an additional one-time installation or activation fee that can range from $25-$100. However, this fee is often included in the package when you purchase and initiate a medical alert system.Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Insurance?Usually medical alert systems are not covered by insurance. But, some options might be available to help you cover the cost.For example, your HSA or FSA may offer a deduction for medical alert systems. Medicare Advantage may also cover some of the cost of medical alert systems. You may be able to get coverage through Veterans benefits as well. However, make sure you check with your insurance provider or your states Medicare/Medicaid program, as benefits can vary by policy or state.If you need assistance funding a medical alert system, be sure to contact your local sheriffs office or Area Agency on Aging, which sometimes have grants or resources available. Best Affordable Medical Alert Systems for SeniorsThere are hundreds of companies that sell medical alert systems. Some of the top-rated, affordable options are as follows:MobileHelp - The National Council on Aging (NCOA) voted this company as Best All-Around System. Their monthly fees start at $19.95 and fall buttons are available for an additional $10 per month. They also offer a free trial period.Bay Alarm Medical - The NCOA voted this company as Best for the Price. Their fees start at $25 per month and fall buttons are available for an additional $10 per month. They also offer a free trial period.Lively - Voted Best Health Services by the NCOA, this companys fees start at $25 per month, with fall detection buttons for an additional $25 per month.Other options include Get Safe as a basic option, Medical Guardian MGMove as a wearable option, and Fast Help as an easy, quick option available on Amazon. Some other notable providers of medical alert systems are ADT Medical Alert and Life Alert.How to Help Your Senior Loved OnesMedical alert systems are one impactful way to gain confidence about your senior loved ones safety as they age. For some seniors, this is all the reassurance they need about their safety and independence. But, other seniors may need a little more support.Having a fall can reveal or trigger the need for additional support. Whether you are looking for support in a senior living community or are seeking home health care services, Florida Senior Consulting can help. Our expert senior advisors will find your loved one the care they need to lead a healthy lifestyle, stay safe and lower their risk of falls and injuries. With this peace of mind ultimately comes a better quality of life for seniors and their families.When the decisions become too overwhelming, our experts are here for you. And, we offer these services at no cost to seniors or their families.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.For peace of mind, call us at (800) 969-7176 or visit us at FloridaSeniorConsulting.com.
Finding a home care service for yourself or an aging loved one is one of the most important decisions you can make. Over three-quarters of adults want to age in place, and you want to ensure that youre receiving the highest level of care. But in this time of transition, one aspect of the senior care search tends to weigh heavy: the cost.At ComForCare, we understand that financing care is one of the most pressing concerns families have during this process. Thats why weve created this guide with several frequently asked questions about affording in-home care. What In-Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover?Medicare eligibility can be quite limited when it comes to home health services. Part-time or intermittent home health aide services are listed as eligible home health services. However, you must meet all of these criteria to qualify:You are under a doctor's care, and care services are created and reviewed regularly by that doctor.A doctor must certify that you need:Intermittent skilled nursing care other than drawing blood, ORPhysical therapy, speech-language pathology, or continued occupational therapy services.You must be homebound.Of course, not all seniors who need a helping hand also need skilled nursing care. Thats where home care services come in. We can assist with daily living activities for seniors who need it, even if they arent homebound or need regular at-home medical care.What is Skilled Nursing Care and How is it Different from Home Care?Home care services like ComForCare help with eating, dressing, personal hygiene, shopping, cleaning, and more. The care is non-medical and intended for older adults who need a helping hand around the house for their safety.Skilled nursing care can provide these services as well, but the key difference is that medical care is also involved. A doctor can prescribe home health care and determine if you or your loved one requires such services.Does Medicare Reimburse Home Care Service Provided by Family Members?Medicare does not cover any care unless it is provided by a licensed caregiver. Thats part of what makes finding a home care provider an appealing option. Taking care of someoneeven someone you loveis labor for which you dont receive compensation without certification. While paying for home care may seem intimidating, it can save you a great deal in the long run. Heres How:Decreased chance for your loved one to experience falls or condition complications, preventing hospital expenses and pain.Decreased need to take PTO or leave work to provide care. Fewer costs related to your own health and stress levels.Is Home Care Affordable Compared to Other Senior Care Services?Believe it or not, home care tends to be the least expensive senior care option available. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average national cost of a private room in a nursing home was an astronomical $108,405 in 2021. Assisted living facility costs, meanwhile, came in at an average of $54,000 for the same year. While home care costs vary depending on the persons specific needs, they typically fall below these numbers. Plus, you get the advantage of receiving high-quality care in the comfort and dignity of your own homenot competing for space in a basic or shared facility room.How Can I Get Help Paying for In-Home Care Services?Financing home care for yourself or a loved one can, understandably, feel impossible at first. If so, youre not aloneup to 41% of Americans over 50 dont believe that they will be able to stay in their current home and community. But at ComForCare, we hope to change that.We offer flexible home care options, from full-time to part-time care. Our caregivers can start by filling in gaps when family members are handling other obligations like work. If your familys needs change, we can always work with you to change the schedule. Were also happy to share resources for financing care, which may include:Veterans benefitsLong-term insuranceWorkers compensation Life insuranceReverse mortgage or home equity loansAnnuities, investments, and savingsBottom Line: Home Care is a More Realistic Option Than You Think!Respecting the wishes of your loved ones isnt impossible. At ComForCare, we work with each family to create a top-quality home care plan that wont cause an undue financial burden. Even if youre just beginning your journey to in-home care, call us at (800) 886-4044 today to ask us anything, 24/7. Were ready to help you find the perfect caregiver!
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage to millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Since its inception in 1965, it has evolved into a multifaceted system with several complex and often confusing components. Each part covers specific healthcare needs. Lets break down the parts of Medicare and what all they entail.Part A: Hospital InsurancePart A is often referred to as hospital insurance. It primarily covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, home health services, and hospice care. When you first sign up for Medicare at the age of 65, youre usually automatically enrolled in Part A. To be eligible for Medicare, you or your spouse must have paid Medicare taxes while working. Part A coverage typically does not require a monthly premium if you or your spouse paid enough taxes during your working years.Key services covered under Part A include:Hospitalization: Coverage includes hospital stays, critical access hospitals, and inpatient care.Skilled Nursing Facility Care: Medicare covers skilled nursing care after a hospital stay.Home Health Services: Limited home health services are covered, such as skilled nursing care and therapy.Hospice Care: Part A covers hospice services for terminally ill patients.Part B: Medical InsurancePart B is known as medical insurance. It covers outpatient services and preventative care, including doctor visits, laboratory tests, medical equipment, and some preventative services. Unlike Part A, however, Part B does require a monthly premium, which the federal government sets but can vary based on your total income.Key services covered under Part B include:Doctor Visits: Coverage includes visits to physicians, specialists, and other healthcare providers.Outpatient Services: Part B covers outpatient surgery, medical tests, and preventive services.Durable Medical Equipment (DME): This includes items like wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen equipment.Ambulance Services: Emergency and non-emergency transportation when necessary.Preventative Services: Many preventative screenings, like mammograms and prostate cancer screenings, are covered, as well as preventative services, such as vaccinations and Annual Wellness Visits.Part C: Medicare Advantage PlansPart C, also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), is an alternative to traditional coverage. It allows beneficiaries to receive their Part A and Part B benefits through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Its almost like a two-in-one plan. But in addition to having Part A and B benefits, MA often includes prescription drug coverage (Part D) and may offer additional benefits like dental, vision, and fitness programs. MA plans usually have their own costs, such as premiums and copayments, in addition to the Part B premium. However, many Medicare Advantage plans have a $0 or lower monthly premium as well as a limit on out-of-pocket costs, helping to control your healthcare spending.Key Features of Medicare Advantage Part C:Comprehensive Coverage: Medicare Advantage plans may offer a broader range of services than Original Medicare.Prescription Drug Coverage: Many Part C plans include Part D prescription drug coverage.Additional Benefits: Some plans provide extra services like dental, vision, and hearing care.Simplicity of One Plan: All healthcare needs are covered under one plan.Part D: Prescription Drug CoveragePart D is a standalone prescription drug plan that helps cover the costs of prescription medications. These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. You must enroll in this plan separately if you receive Original Medicare. Part D coverage requires a monthly premium, which varies depending on your chosen plan.Key Features of Part D:Medication Coverage: Part D plans cover a wide range of prescription drugs, including brand-name and generic medications.Formulary: Each plan has a formulary, which is a list of covered drugs.Cost-Sharing: Beneficiaries pay copayments or coinsurance for prescription drugs in addition to the monthly premium.Coverage Gap: There is a coverage gap, often called the donut hole, which has specific cost-sharing requirements.Medigap (Supplemental) PlansMedicare Supplement Insurance, commonly known as Medigap, is a type of private insurance that helps cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). These plans fill the gaps in coverage left by Medicare, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.Key features of Medigap include:Cost Reduction: Medigap plans help reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare-covered services.Standardized Plans: There are several standardized Medigap plans labeled by letters (e.g., Plan F, Plan G), each offering different levels of coverage.Guaranteed Issue Rights: There are specific enrollment periods and guaranteed issue rights to sign up for Medigap plans without medical underwriting.Get The Medicare Coverage You Need And DeserveUnderstanding the different parts of Medicare, including Part A, Part B, Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage), and Medigap plans, is crucial for making informed healthcare decisions. Its important that you understand what your options are and what exactly they will provide you. Your health is a priority, and by exploring the specifics of each part, you can choose the coverage that best meets your unique healthcare needs.