There are actually a number of free and low-cost legal
resources available today to help seniors, but what’s
available to you and your husband will depend on where
you live, the type legal assistance you need and your
financial situation. Here are several resources to check
Q: Where can seniors turn to for free or low-cost legal
help? My husband and I need some professional legal
assistance but don’t have a lot of money to pay a high
priced lawyer. What can you tell us?
Legal aid: Directed by the Legal Services Corporation,
legal aid offers free legal assistance to low-income
people of all ages. Each community program will differ
slightly in the services they offer and income
qualifications. See lsc.gov/find-legal-aid to locate a
program in your area.
bono programs: Usually sponsored by state or local bar
associations, these programs help low-income people find
volunteer lawyers who are willing to handle their cases
for free. You can look for a pro bono program through
the American Bar Association at findlegalhelp.org, or
Senior legal hotlines: There are a number of states
including the District of Columbia that offer senior
legal hotlines, where all seniors over age 60 have
access to free legal advice over the telephone. To find
the states that offer this service and their toll free
number, visit legalhotlines.org.
Senior legal services: Coordinated by the Administration
on Aging, this service may offer free or low-cost legal
advice, legal assistance or access to legal
representation to people over the age of 60. Your Area
Agency on Aging can tell you what’s available in your
community. Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 to
get your local number.
National Disability Rights Network: This is a nonprofit
membership organization that provides legal assistance
to people with disabilities through their Protection and
Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program. If you or
your husband is disabled, visit ndrn.org to find help in
If you can’t get help from one of these programs, or
find that you aren’t eligible, another option is to
contact your state or local bar association, which may
be able to refer you to a low-fee lawyer. Or, you may
want to consider hiring a lawyer for only part of the
legal work and doing other parts yourself. This is known
as unbundled legal services.
bar associations offer public service-oriented lawyer
referral services that will interview clients and help
identify the problems a lawyer could help them with. If
a lawyer can help with your problem, the service will
provide you with a referral to a lawyer. If the problem
does not require a lawyer, the service will provide
information on other organizations in your community
that may be able to help. Most of these lawyer referral
services conduct their interviews and make referrals
over the phone.
contact your state or local bar association, go to
americanbar.org and type in “state and local bar
associations” in the search field to find their
finally, if you are an AARP member, one other discount
resource that may be able to help you is AARP’s Legal
Services Network from Allstate. This service provides
members a free legal consultation (up to 45 minutes)
with an attorney along with 20 percent discounts on
other legal services you may need. To locate a lawyer
near you, call 866-330-0753.
How to improve your balance as you age
Nov. 4, 2014
Q: I’ve always been a walker, but when I fell last month
my doctor suggested I start doing some balance
exercises. Is this really something I need to practice?
What can you tell me?A: Most
people don’t think much about practicing their balance,
but you should, the same way that you walk to strengthen
your heart, lungs and overall health, or you stretch to
keep your body limber.
As we age, our balance declines - if it isn’t practiced
- and can cause falls. Every year more than one in three
people age 65 years or older fall, and the risk
increases with age. A simple fall can cause a serious
fracture of the hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand or ankle,
which can lead to hospital stays, disability, loss of
independence and even death.
How balance works
Balance is the ability to distribute your weight in a
way that enables you to hold a steady position or move
at will without falling. It’s determined by a complex
combination of muscle strength, visual inputs, the inner
ear and the work of specialized receptors in the nerves
of your joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons that
orient you in relation to other objects.
all sorted out in the sensory cortex of your brain,
which takes in the information from those sources to
give you balance. But aging dulls our balance senses,
and causes most seniors to gradually become less stable
on their feet over time.
balance can also lead to a vicious cycle of inactivity.
You feel a little unsteady, so you curtail certain
activities. If you’re inactive, you’re not challenging
your balance systems or using your muscles. As a result,
both balance and strength suffer. Simple acts like
strolling through a grocery store or getting up from a
chair become trickier. That shakes your confidence, so
you become even less active.
you have a balance problem that is not tied to illness,
medication or some other specific cause, simple
exercises can help preserve and improve your balance.
Some basic exercises you can do anytime include:
One-legged stands: Stand on one foot for 30 seconds, or
longer, then switch to the other foot. You can do this
while brushing your teeth or waiting around somewhere.
In the beginning, you might want to have a wall or chair
to hold on to.
rises: While standing, rise up on your toes as far as
you can. Then drop back to the starting position and
repeat the process 10 to 20 times. You can make this
more difficult by holding light hand weights.
Heel-toe walk: Take 20 steps while looking straight
ahead. Think of a field sobriety test.
Sit-to-stand: Without using your hands, get up from a
straight-backed chair and sit back down 10 to 20 times.
This improves balance and leg strength.
additional balance exercises visit go4life.nia.nih.gov,
a resource created by the National Institute on Aging
that offers free booklets and a DVD that provides
illustrated examples of many appropriate exercises. You
can order your free copies online or by calling
other exercises that can help improve your balance and
flexibility is through tai chi and yoga. To locate a
beginner’s class in your area that teaches either of
these disciplines, call your local senior center, health
club or wellness center, check your yellow pages or try
online directory sites like americantaichi.net and
nothing is available near you, there are DVDs and videos
that offer tai chi and yoga instructions and routines
for seniors that you can do at home. Some good resources
for finding them are amazon.com, collagevideo.com and
iefit.com, or check with your local public library.
to finding affordable dental care
Oct. 28, 2014
Q: I had dental insurance through my work for many years
but lost it when I retired. Where can retirees find
affordable dental care?
Finding affordable dental care can be challenging for
seniors living on a tight budget. Most retirees lose
their dental insurance after leaving the workplace, and
original Medicare does not cover cleaning, fillings or
dentures. While there’s no one solution to affordable
dental care there are a number of options that can help
cut your costs. Here’s where to look.
While original Medicare (Part A and B) and Medicare
supplemental policies do not cover routine dental care,
there are some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans that
do. Many of these plans, which are sold through private
insurance companies, cover dental care along with eye
care, hearing and prescription drugs, in addition to all
of your hospital and medical insurance. If you’re
eligible for Medicare, see medicare.gov/find-a-plan to
look for Advantage plans in your area that covers dental
Another way you can reduce your dental care expenses is
to join a dental discount network. How this works is you
pay an annual membership fee - around $80 to $200 a year
- in exchange for 10 to 60 percent discounts on service
and treatments from participating dentists. To find a
network, go to DentalPlans.com (or 888-632-5353) where
you can search for plans and participating dentists by
zip code, as well as get a breakdown of the discounts
Another option that’s currently available only in the
southern California area is Brighter.com. They provide
users free access to a network of dentists offering up
to 50 percent discounts on all services.
Dental school clinics offer savings opportunities too.
All 65 accredited dental schools in the U.S. offer
affordable care provided by dental students who are
overseen by their professors. You can expect to pay
about half of what a traditional dentist would charge
and still receive excellent, well-supervised care.
Another option is to check with local colleges that
offer dental hygiene programs. For training purposes,
many programs provide teeth cleanings by their students
for a fraction of what you’d pay at a dentist’s office.
search for nearby dental schools or dental hygiene
programs visit ada.org/dentalschools.
If you’re a veteran enrolled in the VA health care
program, or are a beneficiary of the Civilian Health and
Medical Program (CHAMPVA), the VA is now offering a
dental insurance program that gives you the option to
buy dental insurance through Delta Dental and MetLife at
a reduced cost.
VA also provides free dental care to vets who have
dental problems resulting from service. To learn more
about these options, visit va.gov/dental or call
you’re low income, there are various programs and
clinics that provide dental care at a reduced rate or
for free. To look for options in your area contact your
state dental director (see astdd.org), or your state or
local dental society (ebusiness.ada.org/mystate.aspx).
may also be able to get discounted or free dental care
at one of the federally funded HRSA health centers (findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov,
877-464-4772), or at a privately funded free clinic (nafcclinics.org).
check with the Dental Lifeline Network (dentallifeline.org,
888-471-6334) which provides free dental care for
low-income elderly and disabled; Remote Area Medical (ramusa.org)
which offers free health, eye and dental care to people
in select locations; and Indian Health Service (ihs.gov),
which provides free dental care to American Indians and
Alaska Natives who are members of a federally recognized
see toothwisdom.org, a website created by Oral Health
America that will help you locate low-cost dental care.
How Medicare covers outpatient mental health services
Oct. 21, 2014
Q: Does Medicare cover outpatient counseling or therapy
sessions for seniors? Since retiring, my husband has
really struggled with depression and needs to get some
help. What can you tell us?A: Yes,
Medicare recently upgraded its coverage of outpatient
mental health services to help beneficiaries with
depression and other needs. Here’s how it works.
If you have original Medicare, your Part B coverage will
pay 80 percent (after you’ve met your $147 Part B
deductible) for a variety of counseling and therapy
services that are provided outside a hospital, like
individual and group therapy, family counseling and
more. They also cover services for treatment of
beneficiaries who struggle with inappropriate alcohol
and drug use.
or your supplemental insurance is responsible for the
remaining 20 percent coinsurance.
Medicare also gives your husband the option of getting
treatment through a variety of mental health
professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists,
clinical social workers and clinical nurse specialists.
also important to understand that if your husband
decides to see a non-medical doctor (such as
psychologists or a clinical social worker), you’ll need
to make sure that he or she is Medicare-certified and
takes assignment, which means they accept Medicare’s
approved amount as full payment. If they don’t, Medicare
will not pay for the services.
Medicare will, however, pay for the services of
Medicare-certified medical doctors (such as
psychiatrists) who do not take assignment, but these
doctors can charge you up to 15 percent above Medicare’s
approved amount in addition to the 20 percent
coinsurance, which you will be responsible for.
locate a mental health care professional in your area
that accepts Medicare assignment, use Medicare’s online
Physician Compare tool. Just go to medicare.gov/physiciancompare
and type in your zip code, or city and state, then type
in the type of profession you want locate, like
“psychiatry” or “clinical psychologist” in the “What are
you searching for?” box. You can also get this
information by calling Medicare at 800-633-4227.
If you and your husband get your Medicare benefits
through a private Medicare Advantage plan, they too must
cover the same services as original Medicare but they
will likely require him to see an in-network provider.
You’ll need to contact your plan directly for the
In addition to the outpatient mental health services,
you should also know that Medicare covers yearly
depression screenings that must be done in a primary
care doctor’s office or primary care clinic that can
assure appropriate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
Annual depression screenings are covered 100 percent.
Medicare will also cover almost all medications used to
treat mental health conditions under the Part D
prescription drug benefit. If your husband is prescribed
an antidepressant or some other medication for his
condition, and he has a Part D plan, you should call his
plan to confirm coverage or you can search the plans
formulary (the list of medications they cover) on their
For more detailed information, call Medicare at
800-633-4227 and request a copy of publication #10184
“Medicare & Your Mental Health Benefits,” or you can
read it online at medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10184.pdf.
What to consider when choosing a walk-in bathtub
Oct. 14, 2014
Q: I’m interested in getting a walk-in bathtub for my
wife that’s easy for her to get into and out of, but
could use some assistance. Can you offer any consumer
walk-in bathtub is a great option for seniors with
mobility problems who have trouble getting in and out of
a traditional tub. But with so many options available
today, choosing one can be challenging. Here are a few
tips that can help.
Walk-in bathtubs are specialty products that have a
watertight, hinged door built into the side of the tub
that provides a much lower threshold to step over
(usually 3 to 7 inches) versus a standard tub that’s
around 15 inches.
addition to the low threshold, most walk-in tubs also
have a built-in seat, grab bars, anti-slip floors and a
handheld showerhead. And many higher-end models offer
therapeutic spa-like features that are great for seniors
with arthritis and other ailments.
kind of walk-in tub you choose will depend on the size
and layout of your bathroom, your wife’s needs and
preferences, and your budget. Prices for a good walk-in
tub typically run between $3,000 and $10,000 installed.
Here are some other things you should know.
Quality check: The best walk-in bathtubs on the market
today are made in the USA. Also, make sure the company
you choose has a lifetime “leak-proof” door seal
warranty and lengthy warranties on both the tub and the
size: While walk-in bathtubs vary in shape and size,
most models have high-walls (three feet or higher), are
26 to 32 inches wide, and will fit into the same 60-inch
long space as your standard tub without having to
reconfigure the room. If the walk-in tub doesn’t quite
fit your old bathtub space, extension kits are available
to ensure a good fit.
options: Most walk-in tubs have an inward opening door,
but if your wife uses a wheelchair or is a large person,
an outward opening door may be a better option because
they’re easier to enter and exit. But, be aware that
because these doors swing out, they require more
One other style to consider is the “rising-wall” bathtub
made by Kohler, which sits about two feet off the ground
and has a side panel that slides up and down. These tubs
can be entered from a seated position, which makes it a
nice option for wheelchair users.
type: Most companies offer several different types of
walk-in tubs. The most basic type is a soaker tub, or
you can get a therapeutic tub that offers either
whirlpool water jets or bubble massage air jets, or a
combination of the two.
fill and drain: One drawback to using a walk-in bathtub
is that the bather must sit in the tub as it fills and
drains, which can make for a chilly experience. To help
with this, choose a tub that has fast-filling faucets
and pump-assisted drainage systems, which significantly
speeds up the process.
Where to shop: While there are many companies that make,
sell and install walk-in bathtubs, some of the best in
the industry are Safe Step (www.safesteptub.com,
800-346-6616), Premier (www.premiercarebathing.com,
800-934-7614), American Standard (www.americanstandard.com,
866-423-0800) and Jacuzzi (www.jacuzzi.com,
800-288-4002). Many big box retailers like Lowes, Home
Depot and Sears sell walk-in bathtubs too.
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover walk-in bathtubs,
but many companies offer financing with monthly payment
get started, contact a few companies who will send a
local dealer to your home to assess your bathroom, and
give you product options and estimates for free.
How to check up on your hospital
Oct. 7, 2014
Q: What resources can you recommend for researching
hospitals? I need to get a knee replacement next year,
and want to find a good, safe hospital to have it done
Most people don’t give much thought when it comes to
choosing a hospital, but selecting the right one can be
as important as the doctor you choose. Here are some
tips and resources to help you research and check up on
your area hospitals.
While you may not always have the opportunity to choose
your hospital, especially in the case of an emergency,
having a planned procedure can offer you a variety of
shopping for a hospital, the most important criterion is
to find one that has a strong department in your area of
need. A facility that excels in coronary bypass surgery,
for example, may not be the best choice for a knee
replacement. Research shows that patients tend to have
better results when they’re treated in hospitals that
have extensive experience with their specific condition.
order to choose a hospital that’s best for you, it is
important to discuss your concerns and alternatives with
the doctor who is treating you. Some doctors may be
affiliated with several hospitals from which you can
choose. Or, if you’ve yet to select a doctor, finding a
top hospital that has expertise with your condition can
help you determine which physician to actually choose.
Another important reason to do some research is the all
too frequent occurrence of hospital infections, which
kill around 75,000 people in the U.S. each year. So
checking your hospital’s infection rates and cleanliness
procedures is also a wise move.
Today, there are a number of online resources that
provide hospital safety and performance data to help you
research and compare facilities. Because hospitals are
such complex places, it’s wise to get information from a
variety of sources. Here is a summary of some top
Hospital Compare (medicare.gov/hospitalcompare):
Operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services, this free tool lets you compare general
quality of care, as well as care for many medical
conditions and surgical procedures in more than 4,000
Consumer Reports Hospital Rankings (consumerreports.org/hospitalratings):
If you don’t mind spending a few dollars ($7 for one
month or $30 per year), Consumer Reports ranks 4,500
hospitals in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and
Puerto Rico. The reliable resource provides information
on up to 34 performance and safety measures.
News & World Report (usnews.com/best-hospitals): This
online publishing resource identifies the best hospitals
for 16 specialties, and provides rankings by metro area
and by specialty for free.
Healthgrades (healthgrades.com): A private, for-profit
organization, they provide free hospital ratings on
patient safety and medical procedures, and scores
hospitals using a 5-star scale.
Commonwealth Fund (whynotthebest.org): This is a private
foundation that provides free performance data on all
Joint Commission (qualitycheck.org): This is a
not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies
more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs
in the U.S. Hospitals receive a checkmark for each set
of measures they have met. But there’s no way to tell
whether a hospital is stronger in one area over another.
Hospital Inspections (hospitalinspections.org):
Established by the Association of Health Care
Journalist, this focuses on violations and inspection
Leapfrog Group (hospitalsafetyscore.org): This national,
not-for-profit organization grades hospitals on their
overall performance in keeping patients safe. Use your
city, state or ZIP code to search more than 2,500
Hospital Compare (www.hospitalcompare.va.gov): If you’re
a veteran, you can research and compare VA medical
Burial and Memorial Benefits Available to Veterans
Sept. 30, 2014
Does the Veterans
Administration provide any special funeral services or
benefits to old veterans? My father is a 90-year-old
World War II veteran with late stage Alzheimer’s, so I’m
looking into funeral options and would like to know what
the VA may provide.
Yes, the Veterans
Administration offers a number of burial and memorial
benefits to veterans if their discharge from the
military was under conditions other than dishonorable –
which will need to be verified. To do this, you’ll need
a copy of your dad’s DD Form 214 “Certificate of Release
or Discharge from Active Duty,” which you can request
online at archives.gov/veterans.
Here’s a rundown of
some of the different benefits that are available to
veterans that die a non-service related death.
National and State Cemetery
If your dad is
eligible, and wants to be buried in one of the 131
national or 93 state VA cemeteries (see
www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/listcem.asp for a list) the
VA benefits provided at no cost to the family include a
gravesite; opening and closing of the grave; perpetual
gravesite care; a government headstone or marker; a
United States burial flag that can be used to drape the
casket or accompany the urn (after the funeral service,
the flag is given to the next-of-kin as a keepsake); and
a Presidential memorial certificate, which is an
engraved paper certificate signed by the current
President expressing the country’s grateful recognition
of the veteran’s service.
burial benefits are also available to spouses and
dependents of veterans.
If your dad is
cremated, his remains will be buried or inurned in the
same manner as casketed remains.
Funeral or cremation
arrangements and costs are not, however, taken care of
by the VA. They are the responsibility of the veteran’s
Private Cemetery Benefits
If your dad is going
to be buried in a private cemetery, the benefits
available include a free government headstone or marker,
or a medallion that can be affixed to an existing
privately purchased headstone or marker; a burial flag;
and a Presidential memorial certificate.
Funeral or cremation
arrangements and costs are again the responsibility of
the family, and there are no benefits offered to spouses
and dependents that are buried in private cemeteries.
Military Funeral Honors
benefit available to all eligible veterans buried in
either a national or private cemetery is a military
funeral honors ceremony. This includes folding and
presenting the U.S. burial flag to the veteran’s
survivors and the playing of Taps, performed by two or
more uniformed military members.
The funeral provider
you choose will be able to assist you with all VA burial
requests. Depending on what you want, certain forms may
need to be completed which are always better to be done
in advance. For a complete rundown of burial and
memorial benefits, eligibility details and required
forms, visit www.cem.va.gov or call 800-827-1000.
In addition to the
many burial benefits, some veterans may also qualify for
a $734 burial and funeral expense allowance (if
hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 (if not
hospitalized by VA at time of death), and a $734
plot-interment allowance to those who choose to be
buried in a private cemetery. To find out if your dad is
eligible, see benefits.va.gov/benefits/factsheets/burials/burial.pdf.
To apply for burial
allowances, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 21-530
“Application for Burial Benefits.” You need to attach a
copy of your dad’s discharge document (DD 214 or
equivalent), death certificate, funeral and burial
bills. They should show that you have paid them in full.
You may download the form at va.gov/vaforms.
Vaccination Options Available to Seniors this Flu Season
Sept. 23, 2014
I understand that
there are several types of flu vaccines being offered to
seniors this flu season. What can you tell me about
Depending on your
health, age and personal preference, there’s a buffet of
flu shots available to seniors this flu season, along
with two vaccinations for pneumonia that you should
consider getting too.
Flu Shots Options
Just as they do
every year, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) recommends a seasonal flu shot to
almost everyone, but it’s especially important for
seniors who are at higher risk of developing serious
flu-related complications. The flu puts more than
200,000 people in the hospital each year and kills
around 24,000 – 90 percent of whom are seniors. Here’s
the rundown of the different options:
(trivalent) flu shot: This
tried-and-true shot that’s been around for more than 30
years protects against three strains of influenza. This
year’s version protects against the two common A strains
(H1N1 and H3N2), and one influenza B virus.
shot: This vaccine, which was
introduced last year, protects against four types of
influenza – the same three strains as the standard flu
shot, plus an additional B-strain virus.
shot: Designed specifically
for seniors, age 65 and older, this vaccine, called the
Fluzone High-Dose, has four times the amount of antigen
as a regular flu shot does, which creates a stronger
immune response for better protection. But, be aware
that the high-dose option may also be more likely to
cause side effects, including headache, muscle aches and
shot: If you don’t like
needles, the intradermal shot is a nice option because
it uses a tiny 1/16-inch long micro-needle to inject the
vaccine just under the skin, rather than deeper in the
muscle like standard flu shots. This trivalent vaccine
is recommended only to those ages 18 to 64.
To locate a
vaccination site that offers these flu shots, visit
vaccines.gov and type in your ZIP code. You’ll also
be happy to know that if you’re a Medicare beneficiary,
Part B will cover 100 percent of the costs of any flu
shot, as long as your doctor, health clinic or pharmacy
agrees not to charge you more than Medicare pays.
Private health insurers are also required to cover
standard flu shots, however, you’ll need to check with
your provider to see if they cover the other vaccination
The other important
vaccinations the CDC recommends to seniors, especially
this time of year, are the pneumococcal vaccines for
pneumonia. An estimated 900,000 people in the U.S. get
pneumococcal pneumonia each year, and it kills around
This year, the CDC
is recommending that all seniors 65 or older get two
separate vaccines, which is a change of decades-old
advice. The vaccines are Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23.
Previously, only Pneumovax 23 was recommended for
Both vaccines, which
are administered just once, work in different ways to
provide maximum protection.
If you haven’t yet
received any pneumococcal vaccine you should get the
Prevnar 13 first, followed by Pneumovax 23 six to 12
months later. But, if you’ve already been vaccinated
with Pneumovax 23 you should get Prevnar 13 at least one
covers only one pneumococcal vaccine per older adult. If
you’re paying out of pocket, you can expect to pay
around $50 to $85 for Pneumovax 23, and around $120 to
$150 for the Prevnar 13.
Wandering solutions for Alzheimer’s caregivers
Sept. 16, 2014
Q: My mother, who lives with me, has Alzheimer’s disease
and I worry about her wandering away. What tips can you
recommend to help me protect her?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 60
percent of people who suffer from dementia wander at
some point. For caregivers, this can be frightening
because many of those who wander off end up confused and
lost, even in their own neighborhood, and are unable to
communicate who they are or where they live. But there
are things you can do to guard against this and protect
your loved one.
starters, to help reduce your mom’s tendency to wander,
keep her occupied and involved in familiar daily
activities such as preparing dinner or folding the
laundry. It’s also important to encourage daily exercise
and limit daytime napping to reduce nighttime
There are also a number of simple home modifications you
can make to keep her from wandering away. Some possible
solutions include: adding an extra lock on the top or
bottom of the exterior doors out of the line of sight;
install child-proof door knobs or levers; place a
full-length mirror, or put a “STOP” or “Do Not Enter”
sign on the doors you don’t want her going through; or
get a signal device or motion sensor that lets you know
when the door is opened. See alzstore.com for a variety
of product solutions. And, be sure you hide the car keys
to keep her from driving.
also a good idea to alert your neighbors that your mom
may wander so they can keep an eye out, and have on hand
a recent picture to show around the neighborhood or to
the police if she does get lost.
If you want some added protection in case she does
wander off, there are a number services you can turn to
for help, like the MedicAlert + Safe Return program (medicalert.org/safereturn).
service comes with a personalized ID bracelet that will
have your mom’s medical information engraved on it,
along with her membership number and the toll-free
MedicAlert emergency phone number.
she goes missing, you would call 911 and report it to
the local police department who would begin a search,
and then report it to MedicAlert. Or, a Good Samaritan
or police officer may find her, call the MedicAlert
number, to get her back home safely.
Another option that could help, depending on where you
live, is a radio frequency locater service like
SafetyNet and Project Lifesaver, which are offered by
some local law enforcement agencies.
these services, your mother would wear a wristband that
contains a radio transmitter that emits tracking
signals. If she goes missing, you would contact the
local authorities who would send out rescue personnel
who will use their tracking equipment to locate her.
Visit safetynetbylojack.com and projectlifesaver.org to
see if these services are available in your community.
There are also a number of GPS tracking devices that can
help you keep tabs on your mom. With these products, she
would carry or wear a small GPS tracker that would
notify you or other caregivers via text message or email
if she were to wander beyond a pre-established area, and
would let you know exactly where to find her if she did.
find GPS trackers, consider the PocketFinder (pocketfinder.com)
or the Alzheimer’s Association Comfort Zone (alz.org/comfortzone).
Or, if you have concerns that your mother wouldn’t wear
a GPS device or would take it off, there’s the GPS
SmartSole (gpssmartsole.com), which is an insole with an
embedded GPS device.
more wandering prevention tips and solutions, visit the
Alzheimer’s Association Safety Center at alz.org/safety
and This Caring Home at thiscaringhome.org.