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Fading Out: Aging and Beyond RSS feed

Three women struggle to survive.

‘It’s Becoming Too Expensive to Live’: Anxious Older Adults Try to Cope With Limited Budgets

Economic insecurity is upending the lives of millions of older adults as soaring housing costs and inflation diminish the value of fixed incomes.

Across the country, seniors who until recently successfully managed limited budgets are growing more anxious and distressed. Some lost work during the covid-19 pandemic. Others are encountering unaffordable rent increases and the prospect of losing their homes. Still others are suffering significant sticker shock at grocery stores.

Dozens of older adults struggling with these challenges — none poor by government standards — wrote to me after I featured the Elder Index, a measure of the cost of aging, in a recent column. That tool, developed by researchers at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, suggests that 54% of older women who live alone have incomes below what’s needed to pay for essential expenses. For single men, the figure is 45%.

To learn more, I spoke at length to three women who reached out to me and were willing to share highly personal details of their lives. Their stories illustrate how unexpected circumstances — the pandemic and its economic aftereffects, natural disasters, and domestic abuse — can result in unanticipated precarity in later life, even for people who worked hard for decades.

Bettye Cohen

“After 33 years living in my apartment, I will have to move since the new owners of the building are renovating all apartments and charging rents of over $1,800 to 2,500/month which I cannot afford.”

Cohen, 79, has been distraught since learning that the owners of her Towson, Maryland, apartment complex are raising rents precipitously as they upgrade units. She pays $989 monthly for a one-bedroom apartment with a terrace. A similar apartment that has been redone recently went on the market for $1,900.

This is a national trend affecting all age groups: As landlords respond to high demand, rent hikes this year have reached 9.2%.

Cohen has been told that her lease will be canceled at the end of January and that she’ll be charged $1,200 a month until it’s time for her apartment to be refurbished and for her to vacate the premises.

“The devastation, I cannot tell you,” she said during a phone conversation. “Thirty-three years of living in one place lets you know I’m a very boring person, but I’m also a very practical, stable person. I never in a million years would have thought something like this would happen to me.”

During a long career, Cohen worked as a risk manager for department stores and as an insurance agent. She retired in 2007. Today, her monthly income is $2,426: $1,851 from Social Security after payments for Medicare Part B coverage are taken out, $308 from an individual retirement account, and $267 from a small pension.

In addition to rent, Cohen estimates she spends $200 to $240 a month on food, $165 on phone and internet, $25 on Medicare Advantage premiums, $20 on dental care, $22 for gas, and $100 or more for incidentals such as cleaning products and toiletries.

That doesn’t include non-routine expenses, such as new partial dentures that Cohen needs (she guesses they’ll cost $1,200) or hearing aids that she purchased several years ago for $3,400, drawing on a small savings account. If forced to relocate, Cohen estimates moving costs will top $1,000.

Cohen has looked for apartments in her area, but many are in smaller buildings, without elevators, and not readily accessible to someone with severe arthritis, which she has. One-bedroom units are renting for $1,200 and up, not including utilities, which might be an additional $200 or more. Waiting lists for senior housing top two years.

“I’m miserable,” Cohen told me. “I’m waking up in the middle of the night a lot of times because my brain won’t shut off. Everything is so overwhelming.”

Carrie England

“It’s becoming too expensive to be alive. I’ve lost everything and break down on a daily basis because I do not know how I can continue to survive with the cost of living.”

England, 61, thought she’d grow old in a three-bedroom home in Winchester, Virginia, that she said she purchased with her partner in 1999. But that dream exploded in January 2021.

Around that time, England learned to her surprise that her name was not on the deed of the house she’d been living in. She had thought that had been arranged, and she contacted a legal aid lawyer, hoping to recover money she’d put into the property. Without proof of ownership, the lawyer told her, she didn’t have a leg to stand on.

“My nest was the house. It’s gone. It was my investment. My peace of mind,” England told me.

England’s story is complicated. She and her partner ended their longtime romantic relationship in 2009 but continued living together as friends, she told me. That changed during the pandemic, when he stopped working and England’s work as a caterer and hospitality specialist abruptly ended.

“His personality changed a lot,” she said, and “I started encountering emotional abuse.”

Trying to cope, England enrolled in Medicaid and arranged for eight sessions with a therapist specializing in domestic abuse. Those ended in November 2021, and she hasn’t been able to find another therapist since. “If I wasn’t so worried about my housing situation, I think I could process and work through all the things that have happened,” she told me.

After moving out of her home early in 2021, England relocated to Ashburn, Virginia, where she rents an apartment for $1,511 a month. (She thought, wrongly, that she would qualify for assistance from Loudoun County.) With utilities and trash removal included, the monthly total exceeds $1,700.

On an income of about $2,000 a month, which she scrambles to maintain by picking up gig work whenever she can, England has less than $300 available for everything else. She has no savings. “I do not have a life. I don’t do anything other than try to find work, go to work, and go home,” she said.

England knows her housing costs are unsustainable, and she has put her name on more than a dozen waiting lists for affordable housing or public housing. But there’s little chance she’ll see progress on that front anytime soon.

“If I were a younger person, I think I would be able to rebound from all the difficulties I’m having,” she told me. “I just never foresaw myself being in this situation at the age I am now.”

Elaine Ross

“Please help! I just turned 65 and [am] disabled on disability. My husband is on Social Security and we cannot even afford to buy groceries. This is not what I had in mind for the golden years.”

When asked about her troubles, Ross, 65, talks about a tornado that swept through central Florida on Groundhog Day in 2007, destroying her home. Too late, she learned her insurance coverage wasn’t adequate and wouldn’t replace most of her belongings.

To make ends meet, Ross started working two jobs: as a hairdresser and a customer service representative at a convenience store. With her new husband, Douglas Ross, a machinist, she purchased a new home. Recovery seemed possible.

Then, Elaine Ross fell twice over several years, breaking her leg, and ended up having three hip replacements. Trying to manage diabetes and beset by pain, Ross quit working in 2016 and applied for Social Security Disability Insurance, which now pays her $919 a month.

She doesn’t have a pension. Douglas stopped working in 2019, no longer able to handle the demands of his job because of a bad back. He, too, doesn’t have a pension. With Douglas’ Social Security payment of $1,051 a month, the couple live on just over $23,600 annually. Their meager savings evaporated with various emergency expenditures, and they sold their home.

Their rent in Empire, Alabama, where they now live, is $540 a month. Other regular expenses include $200 a month for their truck and gas, $340 for Medicare Part B premiums, $200 for electricity, $100 for medications, $70 for phone, and hundreds of dollars — Ross didn’t offer a precise estimate — for food.

“All this inflation, it’s just killing us,” she said. Nationally, the price of food consumed at home is expected to rise 10% to 11% this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To cut costs, Ross has been turning off her air conditioning during peak hours for electricity rates, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., despite summer temperatures in the 90s or higher. “I sweat like a bullet and try to wear the least amount of clothes possible,” she said.

“It’s awful,” she continued. “I know I’m not the only old person in this situation, but it pains me that I lived my whole life doing all the right things to be in the situation I’m in.”

We’re eager to hear from readers about questions you’d like answered, problems you’ve been having with your care, and advice you need in dealing with the health care system. Visit khn.org/columnists to submit your requests or tips.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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Preventing fraud, elder abuse, guardianship problems and romance scams

by Pat McNees (updated 9-7-22)

Gathered here are links to helpful articles about the many kinds of abuse elders may be subject to (including physical, sexual, and financial abuse) and steps they can take to avoid fraud and scams. Sadly, their abusers may be friends, family, caregivers, and professional advisors. Do your homework and protect yourself and those you care about. Click on:

Elder fraud and abuse, generally  (how to avoid being taken in)

Housing and financial fraud 

Home improvement and other types of scams 

Telemarketing and phone fraud, including IRS scams 

How scammers and fraudsters operate

ATM and tax fraud and identity theft 

Elder abuse 

Fraud, abuse, neglect in elder guardianship system 

Where to monitor credit reports, check a charity's status 

Where to file a complaint if you've been scammed, defrauded, hacked, abused, cheated, etc.  Read More 

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100 tips on how to improve your life, home, credit, bottom line

by Pat McNees (updated 9-5-22). Original publication 5-29-16.

aka Life Hacks for the Home and Office.

Final section, "Shopping Smartly"


Preferring books to housecleaning, I live in a messy apartment. But now I'm ready to act on tips I've been gathering (posted below) on how to upgrade my home, make my clothes last longer, detox my life, find a better credit card, tidy up the spaces guests are most likely to judge me on, handle a tax audit, clean the bottom of my iron, sanitize a sponge in the microwave, and so on. For example, thanks to Buzzfeed (61 Little Tips and Tweaks to Improve the Appearance of your Home), I've discovered dozens of practical tips, including How to
3. Hide my television wires in a shower curtain rod.
6. Add cheap framed mirrors to closet doors, painted to match.
19. Get the right-size rugs and learn how to place them.  Read More 

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You, drug-resistant superbugs, and what's for dinner?

Updated 9-13-22

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Home remedies for alleviating sciatica pain

Updated 5-12-22.

When friends report being crippled by pain from sciatica, I pull out my "notes for friends with sciatica." This is not medical advice; I am not a doctor. I do not have medical training. But these links may provide some relief until you get to a doctor. They're culled from years of hearing what worked from friends who've been  Read More 

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Street Medicine: Finding patients where they live

Let me know in Comments if additional resources are missing here.

 

The Homeless Get Sick; ‘Street Medicine’ Is There for Them (David Montgomery, Stateline, Pew Charitable Trust, 9-18-18) “Street medicine,” which had only a few resolute practitioners when it got its start in the mid-1980s, has surged within the past decade, growing into a network of programs in over 85 cities and in 15 countries. In the United States, street medicine programs are operating in more than 20 states and at least 45 cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Detroit and Washington, D.C.So-called point-in-time estimates by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development placed the number of homeless people at 553,742 in 2017. Two-thirds, or 360,867, were in emergency shelters or transitional housing. The remaining third, or 192,875, were in unsheltered locations — making them most vulnerable to threatening diseases and physical abuse.
The Street Medicine Movement (YouTube video, Jim Withers, TEDxPittsburgh, 7-20-15) Withers is the internal medicine physician who began providing medical care to Pittsburgh’s unsheltered homeless population in 1992. He is also the founder of Operation Safety Net, a street medicine program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For the past 23 years, Dr. Withers has been working with the homeless population to provide free medical care by going from one bridge to the next to assist homeless individuals in need. As a 2014 Huffington Post article on Dr. Withers stated, “What started off as two people offering free medical treatment has since grown into a national network of medical students and volunteers who go out to treat the homeless four nights a week.”

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Street Medicine: Medical Outreach for Unsheltered People (Ad, National Health Care for the Homeless Council) “Street medicine” is the practice of providing medical care to unsheltered people experiencing homelessness in locations like encampments, parks, and under bridges.Dr. Jim Withers first coined the concept of “street medicine” in the 1980s and founded the Street Medicine Institute, an international organization that aims to advance street medicine as a distinct health care discipline. Soon after, Dr. Philip Brickner in New York City used the street medicine approach to create the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) model of care in the mid-1980s. Today, the Street Medicine Institute estimates 50 independent street medicine programs operate across the country, funded in a variety of ways.
Narrative Medicine: A Way Out (Corinne T. Feldman, Clinical Advisor, 2-25-22) In the practice of street medicine, which is the direct delivery of primary care to people experiencing homelessness living in parks, underpasses, and abandoned buildings, we have the privilege of witnessing those lives lived as society casually passes by, seemingly blinded to the suffering happening at their feet.
Safeguarding Our Communities: Get to Know Your Lifeguards (Corinne T. Feldman, Clinical Advisor, 2-25-22)
Street Medics Battle Bureaucracy to Bring Health Care to the Homeless (Jack Ross, Capital and Main, 6-28-21) Street medicine originated on the East Coast in the early 1990s; today, street teams treat the homeless from Brazil to Russia. In California the programs are now widespread, but current state health care law is preventing teams from treating their patients, street medics say, even as California’s homeless population grows past 160,000.
The Street Medicine Act (AB-369), a new bill under debate in the California State Senate, tries to remove those barriers. It seeks recognition of the street as a legitimate place to deliver medical care, a place where patients can bill Medi-Cal and access benefits like X-rays, lab work and specialized treatment just as they would in a doctor’s office. It will make it easier to take life-saving treatment to the people who need it most.
“We create laws and systems with an expectation that people meet the government where the government is,” says state Sen. Sydney Kamlager. “This is an opportunity to meet people where they are,” says Kamlager. “We have a system that creates all kinds of barriers of access to folks who are homeless.”

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Street Medicine—The Challenge of Earning Homeless Patients' Trust (YouTube video, JAMA Network, 2-5-20)
Finding patients where they live: Street medicine grows, along with homeless population (Soumya Karlamangla, LA Times, 2-16-20) Brett Feldman leads a four-person medical team that offers care to some of the sickest people in Los Angeles by meeting them where they live, on the street. The patients don’t have to schedule appointments, find transportation to the clinic, pick up prescriptions or pay for their treatment — barriers that make homeless people much sicker and more likely to die. This team is one of several providing medical care on the street for L.A. County’s growing homeless population. These so-called street medicine teams are multiplying nationwide, with more than 90 across the country and some doctors weighing whether the practice should be taught in medical schools. The shift acknowledges not just the humanity of homeless people but also a nationwide failure to house them and provide healthcare to everyone who needs it.
What You Need to Know about Street Medicine Movement and Homeless Healthcare (Rohit Varma, 11-13-18)
Street Medicine: Bringing Healthcare to the Homeless Community (Ad, Cynthia Griffith, Invisible People, 8-20-21)
Million-Dollar Murray (Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker, 2-13-06) Why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage

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The 'Explaining the Pandemic' videos that went viral

Watch Julie Nolke's TED Talk

 

  The 6 Year Overnight Success (10-8-21)

and then watch the series:


Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self, part 1 (January 2020)  This went viral: 28 million views.

Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self Part 2 (June 2020) This also went viral, 11 million views.

Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self Part 3 (October 2020)  And so on.

Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self Part 4 (December 2020)

Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self - 1 Year Later (April 2021)

Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self Part 5 (August 2021)

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Why one woman got a medical alert device

A neighbor in my condo writes: About 15 years ago I heard from my travel agent that a friend of hers had fallen in the kitchen and broken a bone and had required hours to crawl to her telephone. At that point I decided that I would get one of those buttons, and I did and have lived with it ever since. The monthly charge is a tax deduction if you itemize (under "medical").

 

I have never needed my button, but the security of having it is very important to me, since I am hyper-aware of living alone. Yes, the button is useless unless you have it on you when you need it. Are you going to have it on you *all the time* (at least when you are at home)? If not, why bother? Mine is waterproof, so when I take a shower, I lay it on the ledge of the tub. At all other times, it is literally on me. (Mine is worn around the neck, like a pendant.)

 

My button is Lifeline, and in terms of the technology involved, it is ancient. It covers me only when I am in my apartment and only if I press the button.

Only when in my apartment: If I should fall away from home, the button would be irrelevant and I would be dependent on the help of strangers and/or on my cell phone (which I make a point of having with me whenever I am away from home -- even when walking within Parkside or going downstairs to get the mail).

Only if I press the button: In other words, if I were unconscious or paralyzed, I would not be able to summon help, and having the button would do me no good. Yes, I am taking a chance and perhaps may decide to reconsider the kind of coverage I want a button to give.


One inherent problem, then, is coverage. Will it cover you only at home, and will it cover you only if you are able to press it?

Another problem is whether you are someone who would keep it on you at all relevant times. And a third (which applies to the kind of button you wear only at home) is this: if you took it off right before going out your front door, *would you be able to find it when you returned home?* In the early years there were several times when I returned home and for the life of me could not find the button or remember where I had left it. Those moments or hours or days of not remembering drove me crazy (since I needed to know that the button was on me). I have now learned my lesson and am always conscious of where I am leaving it (generally in one designated place).

 

As for the question of who to list: Lifeline (my company) will not list 9-1-1, and my condominium does not allow us to list the management office. It has to be one or more people who (a) have a key to your apartment, and (b) live close enough to be able to get to you in case they're called by Lifeline and told that you have an emergency. If you live in a condo, can you list your management office?

 

P.S. I also have an arrangement with one very near neighbor that we send each other an email message every morning confirming to the other that each is okay. Thus, the longest either one of us would be left lying helpless is 24 hours.

 

See also Should you buy a Medical Alert device? Which kind? Why?

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Should you buy a Medical Alert device? Which kind? Why?

Should you buy a Medical Alert device*? Which one? Why?

(*also called  Personal emergency response systems, or PERS)

Pat McNees's roundup of tips from experts.

 

Questions to ask yourself before you buy.  

Are you getting this device for a 911-type emergency, or for less-than-911 problems?

Are you getting it for activities outside the home or inside or both? 

Where are you more likely to fall and hurt yourself, and what device would help most if you fall when you are alone?

Would you prefer a watch-like device worn on the wrist, a neck pendant, or a device on the bedside table (and/or in the bathroom).

Will re-charging be an issue?

Which are you most likely to have access to in an unexpected fall?

 

3 Key Questions to Answer (Consumer Reports)

1. Do You Want a Home-Based or Mobile System?

2. Should Your System Be Monitored or Not?

3. Should You Add a Fall-Detection Feature?

 

The Consumer Checkbook article below presents issues you should consider, and I quote them liberally. 

        Bottom line: "Our researchers tested several models and found that most medical alert device makers' products delayed emergency response and provided less-than-precise location data when we hit the alarm button. We could recommend only one company: GreatCall [renamed Lively Mobile], because it offers wearable devices that can connect its customers directly to 911 instead of a company-run call center. Wearable devices like Apple Watch also offer good options for those who want a panic button at hand that can actually get them help in a hurry [and that they are likely to be wearing during the emergency].
Scroll down for links to results on other devices tested. 

 

I found Tech-Enhanced Life's explanations and their pro's and con's of various devices for different situations very helpful. You might want to read the broad comments below that, taken from Consumer Checkbook, for general principles.

 

Tech-Enhanced Life's excellent decision-helping modules are thorough and practical in their evaluations for different needs.

Start here:

Medical Alert Systems: Selection Guide (drawing on testing-based observations)
---Learning Module Tutorial on what a medical alert system is.
---Selection Tool Choose the Best Medical Alert System for YOU. Turn Desired Features into a list of Actual Products.
---Best of Breed recommendations The result of hands-on, detailed testing in which they compare medical alert systems with similar features.
---Just Tell Me What to Buy (in which they make specific product recommendations for each of several specific personas, for people who don't want detailed analysis)
---Medical Alert Reviews Individual reviews of a heckuva lot of specific devices, listed in alphabetical order.
---Smartwatch as Medical Alert?

 

Other Useful Products recommended by the Tech-enhanced Life community

 

A broad summary of what to consider, from Consumer Checkbook:

Medical Alert Devices (Jeff Blyskal, Consumer Checkbook, Nov. 2018) "We hit the panic button—290 times!—to test the value of these gadgets. These devices do supply a panic button right at hand—on a wrist or neck pendant, or on the bedside table as it recharges overnight. If you’re worried that you might get injured or in a situation where you can’t reach a phone to dial 911, they can provide that support—although with most devices getting help will take more time than calling 911 directly.... "Most alert devices we studied delay your ambulance by inserting typically lesser-trained agents between you and the 911 pros...

     "On top of that, if you need a 911-type service and go through a medical alert device, your call will be processed after other incoming 911 calls." "Our researchers tested several models and found that most medical alert device makers’ products delayed emergency response and provided less-than-precise location data when we hit the alarm button. We could recommend only one company: GreatCall, because it offers wearable devices that can connect its customers directly to 911 instead of a company-run call center. Wearable devices like Apple Watch also offer good options for those who want a panic button at hand that can actually get them help in a hurry."

      "Many devices can be equipped with optional fall-detection features that automatically call their monitoring companies if you take a tumble (or the device falsely senses a fall, which happened often with the units we tested). But a pretty narrow group of seniors has these needs."

     "On the other hand, medical alert devices are more helpful to callers who have a less-than-911 problem. 'Nine times out of 10, when people press our button, they don’t necessarily need 911. They want us to call someone else,' such as a friend or relative...So for $130 to $625 for the first year (price of device and monthly monitoring fees), you can get a device that works kind of like a cell phone but is far easier to operate—after all, there’s usually just one button to deal with." Just remember: You are not reaching someone with 911-type experience.

        Finally: "Among the 911 community, medical alert devices are notorious for false alarms and for providing inadequate location information, both of which needlessly tie up 911 staff and sending EMS crews on wild goose chases, delaying responses to real emergencies....In our tests, medical alert companies often had trouble determining where our calls were coming from—exactly or even within a reasonable margin of error." This is a problem if the caller is incapacitated, can't talk, or doesn't know exactly where s/he is. 

        Think too about how willing you will be to wear a wearable device most of the time, and whether re-charging will be a big problem.


Consumer Reports Survey of Best Medical Alert Systems (10-13-20) CR's exclusive survey compares 7 major brands. These systems can call for emergency help with the press of a button. To help consumers sort through all the available information, CR surveyed 1,869 Consumer Reports members, who rated their satisfaction with seven different medical alert device brands. In addition to sharing details about their devices’ features, members rated their satisfaction on variables. 

 

Variables  (besides price, customer service, and response speed) include:

 

    Portable call button or in-home call button.

    Monitored vs. unmonitored

    Cell vs. landline service
    Basic service vs. additional monthly service fees

    Unintentional activation

    Malfunction rates.


How to Choose a Medical Alert System (Consumer Reports, 10-19-20)


Additional safety measures and devices:
Preventing falls + learning how to fall + how to get up  (Pat McNees roundup of tips)
24/7 Wandering Support for a Safe Return (The Alzheimer’s Association, in collaboration with MedicAlert) A MedicAlert membership plan with Wandering Support helps first responders and families reconnect with individuals living with dementia who experience a medical emergency or have wandered.
Medical conditions that require a Medical ID (American Medical ID)
Medical Identification Tags (Wikipedia, which includes a list of conditions or prescriptions warranting the wearing of such a tag.) A medical identification tag is a small emblem or tag worn on a bracelet, neck chain, or on the clothing bearing a message that the wearer has an important medical condition that might require immediate attention. The tag is often made out of stainless steel or sterling silver. The intention is to alert a paramedic, physician, emergency department personnel or other first responders (emergency medical services, community first responder, Emergency medical responder) of the condition even if the wearer is not conscious enough, old enough, or too injured to explain. A wallet card with the same information may be used instead of or along with a tag, and a stick-on medical ID tag may be added or used alone.
How To Get A Medical Alert Bracelet For Free (Paying for Senior Care) A medical alert bracelet lets medical and emergency personnel know that a person has a medical condition that should be considered in an emergency. The issue could be severe allergies, diabetes, cardiac problems or one of a long list of other conditions. First responders are trained to look for a medical alert bracelet after they check vital signs, such as breathing and pulse. In some emergency situations, having a medical alert bracelet can mean the difference between life and death.
How Can I Get a Medical Alert System for Free? (Caring.com, (800) 973-1540). Check with your health insurance company or read up at this site on Medicare, Medicaid, benefits for veterans, and senior assistance agencies.

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SEE ALSO Why one woman got a medical alert device

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Signs of aging that start after you turn 40

Did you know...

That the moment you hit 40 your vision declines and you may soon need reading glasses

That you too may start wearing glasses on a holder around your neck because you never know when you may need them.

That some people begin developing glaucoma or macular degeneration in their 40s. "If it's caught early, your vision can usually be saved.”
That you're now likely to grow crops of wrinkles, age spots, and small growths called skin tags. 

That the time between feeling the urge to pee and peeing grows shorter, so you need to move quickly.

That you'll need to see a dermatologist  to detect which of those could be or become skin cancer.

That all those days spent tanning hasten the aging process as UV rays cause thick, damaged skin.

That you may get shorter, as your spinal bones get thinner and lose some height.

That you may appear to be getting stooped.

That your facial bones lose volume, so you begin to show your age.

That joint changes may appear, ranging from minor stiffness to severe arthritis.
That you're at greater risk of heat stroke or hypothermia.

That you now appreciate the days when your upper arms were toned.

That you've made enough mistakes to have learned many valuable life lessons.

That little children are unlikely to be able to tell you from any other adult stranger with similar features.

That you will suddenly learn of rare and peculiar diseases and conditions associated with aging. 

Feel free to suggest further surprises of aging. 

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