Monday, April 21, 2008

Medical Transportation for Central Texas Seniors

David Phillips, President of Central Texas EMS & Medical Transport Services located in Georgetown and serves the central Texas areas from Waco to South Austin and all the little cities in between.

It's an important medical transport service that is a high priority and needed service by family caregivers, especially when we live at a distance from our aging loved ones. David's company, Central Texas EMS & Medical Transport can help your aging parent physically be moved from the hospital back home or vice versa when they need ambulance type transportation.

It is not to be confused with a 911 (true) emergency transportation to the hospital. A 911 ambulance is restricted to respond only to an emergency situation such as a car accident or a heart attack, it is not to be confused with an ambulance medical transportation that arrives at your aging loved one's home to take them to a non-emergency visit to the hospital, an assisted living facility, or back home from one of these.

Central Texas EMS & Medical Transportation comes to the home in a polite , non-intrusive, and cognizant of the environment. They primarily help transport elders with chronic illnesses that may be worsening in underlying health conditions.

Another form of medical transport that Central Texas EMS & Medical Transport delivers is Wheel Chair Van. Again, this is not a 911 transportation service. This type of transportation is needed when an elder might need a ride to the doctor's office for a check up or medical appointmant. I remember my dad using a service like this when he visited his doctor's office for check ups. Both the van and non-emergency ambulance are fully equipped with oxygen and other medical equipment for safety measures.

Now you might wonder "who" pays for these transport services? Most insurance companies do pay for the non-emergency ambulance service. However, the wheel chair van is an out of pocket expense. The cost ranges from $25 up to $40 per trip. But check with Central Texas EMS prior to scheduling a trip.. to be on the safe side.

Please contact David Phillips and Central Texas EMS & Medical Transportation at 866-404-0911. Or visit their company webstie at It's worth the relief that your loved one is in good hands!

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Texas Medical Alert - Leaving Our Loved Ones Unattended

In continuing the conversation about traveling and leaving our loved ones unattended, I interviewed Midge Norris, Director of Marketing, with The Personal Alert Link. It is an in-home medical alarm service that's cost effective, personalized, bilingual, and links seniors to independence. It simply attaches to any land line phone like an answering machine and whenever you need help, just press the button on The PAL. It instantly connects to our Emergency Call Center where you’ll have full two-way voice communication with a trained, caring Call Center Caregiver. The PAL gets you the help you need, whether it's an ambulance or just a call to your neighbor for help.

Looking back, Ginger, the traveling primary caregiver (see her story dated March 30, '08), now wishes she bought one for her dad. But he was left unattended for hours after his fall, laying on the floor. The simple system (which attaches to any land line phone like an answering machine) is an absolute essential if a care recipient is alone for more than a couple of hours each day.

Whether you traveling to the office everyday, traveling to Timbuktu for an extended visit or zooming to the supermarket for a loaf of bread, there is an opportunity for an accident to happen.

  • The CDC (The Center for Disease Control) has recently headlined an article “Injury Falls have become a leading cause of death in seniors".

  • 1.8 million Seniors were admitted hospital emergency rooms as the direct result of a fall

  • 40% of nursing home admissions are the direct result of injury falls

Unless you have someone "on site" 24/7, there is no better backup and communication system to help all involved to feel more secure and able to respond in the event of an emergency than a simple in-home medical alert.

Carla, a primary caregiver for 95 year old frail senior mom living in an apartment. Carla works full time as a teacher and spends her summers close to home and her mom. Her brother John lives out of state. Carla’s son is getting married this summer in another state and family wants to go, leaving Mom ‘home alone’.

They have subscribed to personal alert link service now so that Mom is completely comfortable with the system. The first responder, while on vacation, will be the the apartment complex manager, and the family will be secondary contact.

Summary: With a little planning the entire family is rest assured that there is a 24/7 plan in place not only for this family trip, but each day of the week.

Question to Midge Norris, Marketing Director, of the Personal Alert Link:

How do you train an elder to use or press the emergency button on PAL?
They need to keep the pendant or bracelet on them at all times. It is waterproof.

And once an elder presses the button, does your care center stay on the phone with them till help arrives?
Once the button is pressed, our Care Coordinator Center will talk on the two way speaker to the care recipient and ascertain what level of response is necessary. They stay connected throughout the process until help arrives. They follow up after the fact with all parties.

How do you notify the caregiver who is away – this can be a tricky situation… how to notify the caregiver without setting off an alarming reaction?
We deliver the news of the event as factually and unemotionally as possible, to reassure them all is ok (or Not) so they can make an informed decision about what the next step should be.

Thank you, Midge, for this useful information on another step for families to consider before leaving an aging loved one home alone.

You can contact Midge Norris at 866-633-2576 or visit the website:

If you need local senior services in Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or Fort Worth, please email me or visit

My best, Carol

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tips for Texas Caregivers Planning Travel

Continuing our series of the primary caregiver preparing to be away from their aging care recipient due to travel. I'm speaking with several "expert" advisors on how best to prepare before leaving home.

Today Lynn and Harry Shank, owners of Texas Assurance Care in Austin, give practical advice to family caregivers. They are well known through-out the senior community here in Austin and excel in resources for seniors.

Lynn tells us that you, the primary caregiver, can comfortably travel without much worry if you have put the following in place. And she also advises us to do what Sally Watkins, the Travel Agent suggests!

In the interview you'll hear good tips on preparing for travel - make sure you don't leave home without them!

1. Make a list or your loved one's (care recipient) center of influence with you safely tucked away into your carry on bag. The center of influence are people who know, see, and maybe visit your care recipient; neighbors, good friends, pastor at the church, pharmacist, doctor, and insurance agent (health, car, home, etc.). Just in case of an accident or delays in travel or change of plans on your end - you can make sure someone will oversee your loved one's safety and can check in on him/her.

2. On that list, add the care recipient's health insurance information and the plan description. You might consider adding your health insurance information onto this list too.

3. Prepare yourself as long distance caregivers do - to find useful tips Google "long distance caregiver". Check this link out:

4. Contact the neighbors and friends and give them your itinerary, how they can contact you in a need arises. Let them know what's going on; your travels and if they would please stay connected with your loved one. You may also want to contact a Geriatric Case Manager to help oversee your care recipient by making regular home visits.

5. If you can afford hiring an in home care agency so that someone, a caretaker, can check in on your loved one regularly. Lynn knows that in home care agencies have a minimum hour requirement, but this is a valuable assest for your family. They are trained in handling and being a primary caretaker while the family is away.

6. And like Ginger, our traveling primary caregiver, suggests: Back up your back up! The more back up you have in place, the more you can enjoy your vacation or business trip!

A big thank you goes to Lynn Shank! She can be reached at or (512) 343-5400.

Enjoy your travels!

If you need help with local Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio senior care, contact me, And visit our website

My best, Carol

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Travel Agent Gives Tips on Preparing for a Vacation or Business Travel - Taking You From Aging Parent

Welcome back to our continuing series on preparing for a trip that leaves your aging relative behind. In our kickoff story, you read and listened to Ginger's dilemma dealing with an emergency while traveling in Europe. She was frantic when she first learned about her dad's fall and hospital stay.

Today we continue the Preparing for Travel series featuring a local Austin travel agent Sally Watkins, CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) with Century Travel. I asked Sally to please share with our readers tips on preparing for a journey away from home, potentially putting thousands of miles between you and your aging loved one. Sally advises families to plan ahead weeks prior to leaving the country or state:

l. Purchase Travel Insurance – and read the policy thoroughly. Be aware of the "pre-existing conditions" part in the policy and know that full insurance has to be bought and put in place within 14 days of first payment toward the trip, for most insurers. There are some insurers that allow the purchase of travel insurance on final payment of trip but that’s the exception.

2. Also be aware that paying the "taxes due" on frequent flier tickets can be interpreted as the "first payment" toward the trip. That would start the clock running.

3. It's a GOOD reason to use a travel agent, so that if something happens to the aging parent/relative, the traveler has help in working out how to fly home! Without a travel agent, that traveler is on his or her own to work out all the details, from abroad, putting the family member in ultra stressed mode.

4. Be aware of all cancellation policies, as they will differ by hotel or tour or guide, etc.

5. Make sure the people "back home" have your contact information, where you are staying, etc., and they are instructed on how to dial the foreign numbers where you will be – using 011 to get international. Also instruct them on what countries require a zero before the area code when dialing from the USA, etc.

6. Get a cell phone. Leave the cell number and instructions on how to dial it with the aging relative and other family members and friends.

And I add, give them your email address too!

Make it easy on yourself and book your next trip/vacation with Sally and give her details of your aging relative... she can give futher instruction if necessary and assist you in getting back home in a hurry, if the need comes up.

Thank you, Sally for these great tips! She can be reached at 1-800-950-8283 or go to

Thank you readers for joining our continuing series on being away from an aging loved one. Stayed tuned when we hear from local Geriatric Case Managers giving us valuable tips on being away.

If you need local senior services email me, and please visit our website