Today is National Grandparents Day! Show them you care by keeping them safe and loved!

Happy-Grandparents-Day-Photo.jpgA recent study conducted for the National Institute of Aging found that about 22 percent of elderly Americans age 71 and older face challenges of declining mental or physical health. This could mean elders are going through subtle changes that make them vulnerable to scams or more susceptible to accidents. Safety both in and out of home is a top priority for our grandparents and there are many simple safety steps that will reduce the risk of accidents and dangers.

GENERAL HOME SAFETY

The following home safety tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Consider a medical alert system for your loved one(top 10 Systems described and ranked: here).
  • Place a light weight fire extinguisher and smoke detectors on every floor of their home and be sure to check these items regularly.  Fire Extinguishers expire over time and be sure to regularly test smoke detectors (to learn more about fire safety products click: here).
  • Teach elderly loved ones to always get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Many of us can be taken off balance when we rise too fast.  A change of behavior can prevent dizziness or falling by taking our time, and making sure to have your balance. Work with your loved ones to improve this action.
  • If your grandparent is using a cane, walker or aid to walk be sure it has been medically approved by his/her physician.
  • Remove or tack down all scatter rugs in his/her household as they are trip hazards.
  • Remove electrical or telephone cords from traffic areas.
  • Avoid using slippery wax on floors.
  • Wipe up spills promptly.
  • Let your loved ones know to avoid standing on ladders or chairs and to call on you or an assistant if they need help reaching something.
  • Install sturdy rails for all stairs inside and outside the house, or, if necessary, purchase a stairlift.
  • Install proper lighting throughout the household that illuminates without glare and make sure that pathways are equipped with timed night lights that will aid them in maneuvering after dark to the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Make sure that all stair cases have good lighting with switches at top and bottom.
  • Make sure that staircase steps should have a non-slip surface.

BATHROOM SAFETY

  • Be sure to leave a light on in his/her bathroom at night or a motion sensitive light that will turn on when they enter the bathroom.
  • Use recommended bath aids, securely installed on the walls of the bath/shower stall and on the sides of the toilet.
  • Skid-proof the tub and make sure the bath mat has a non-slip bottom.
  • To avoid scalds, turn water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Mark cold and hot faucets clearly.
  • Use door locks that can be opened from both sides.
  • If possible, bathe only when help is available.

KITCHEN SAFETY

  • Keep floors clean and uncluttered.
  • Illuminate work areas.
  • Mark “on” and “off” positions on appliances clearly and with bright colors.
  • Store sharp knives in a rack.
  • Use a kettle with an automatic shut-off.
  • Store heavier objects at waist level.
  • Store hazardous items separate from food.
  • Make sure food is rotated regularly and check expiration dates.

DRUG SAFETY

  • Review your loved one’s medicines frequently with his/her doctor or pharmacist to be sure they are being taken properly, still needed or if any changes need to be made.
  • Make sure medicines are clearly labeled by name, use, and instructions.
  • Dispose of any old or used medicines.
  • Have medication dispensed in a bubble pack or convenient dispenser for easy access.
  • Check with his/her doctor or pharmacist before mixing non-prescription drugs and prescription drugs.

PERSONAL SAFETY

  • Teach your grandparents to never provide any personal information to callers and, instead, retrieve a name and call back number to provide to you so that you can verify if unusual calls are valid or scams.
  • Make sure your loved ones are aware of the dangers of the internet and the important steps necessary to avoid scams (to learn more about internet safety and dangerous scams click: here).
  • Be sure your grandmother knows to never leave her purse unattended in her car, home or when in public as well as to never carry any cash, credit cards, social security card or valuables in a purse that could be easily snatched. She should know that if anyone is trying to attack her and grab her purse to just drop it and let them have it.
  • For the safety of your loved ones as well as yourself, it is always best to carry your wallet or any cash in a front pocket, never in a rear pocket.
  • Because the elderly are easy targets for home break ins/theft – they should avoid having large amounts of cash or valuables at home.
  • For the safety of both yourself and your loved ones, be sure to tear up or shred all personal and financial information; never just throw it into the trash.
  • Make arrangements to have Social Security checks direct-deposited to your loved one’s bank account.

These safety tips are valuable at any age, but particularly valuable for our susceptible loved ones who are elderly.  Show them you love them by taking the time to teach them about the dangers of internet use, running errands alone in public places and items in their household which have the potential to cause harm.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate them today and every day.  Tomorrow is promised to no one so enjoy their wisdom and give them thanks for your life and their love TODAY!

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Give the Gift of Safety! Smart & Secure Stocking Stuffers That Show You Care

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Here’s our list of the top 10 gift ideas to
keep your loved ones prepared for emergency situations:

  1. First Aid Kit — It’s always smart to keep a First Aid Kit in your vehicle as well as your home. You can build the kit yourself and put it in a decorative, personalized container as a gift or you can buy a First Aid Kit. Be sure the kit contains the following important items:
    An assortment of band-aids, a compress, adhesive cloth tape, gause, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone ointment, Asprin, Ibuprophen, Scissors, splint, Ace bandage Wrap, Antiseptic wipes, Thermometer, Flashlight, and a first aid manual.
  2. Vehicle Emergency Kit – Like the first aid kit, you can build one yourself as a gift or purchase a pre-made kit. Many pre-made kits include a first aid kit already! Be sure your vehicle safety kit has:
    a jump starter, a portable air compressor to air tires, a car escape tool set, a lantern, reflective road flags or triangles
    and a fire extinguisher.
  3. Fire Extinguisher – Every home and car should have a small Fire Extinguisher in case of emergency. Kitchen fires are more common than we realize and most insurance companies will discount home insurance policies for homeowners equipped with protection and prevention items such as extinguishers and smoke detectors. The National Fire Protection Agency reported an average of 31 vehicle fires on the road per hour and an average of one death per day and 12 severe injuries as a result.
  4. Computer Protection Programs — Antivirus or anti-virus software (often abbreviated as AV), sometimes known as anti-malware software, is computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious software. Learn what the best programs available are here!
  5. Identity Theft Protection Services — Identity theft occurs when someone uses one’s personal identifying information, without authorization, in order to perpetrate fraud or other offenses, such as obtaining loans, services or credit. To reduce that risk Identity Theft Protection Services are available.  Learn what the best services available are here!
  6. Security Camera – Depending on your loved one’s need, a security camera is a great way to add a watchful eye to their home. Security cameras often deter crime when spotted by criminals.  Choosing the right camera and system relies on several factors so we suggest you read this article before purchasing.
  7. Medical Alert System – This is really a necessity for anyone you love who lives alone but especially for an elderly or ill loved one who lives alone. Once again, depending on your loved one’s needs or capabilities, you will need to choose the best system suited for him or her.  Here is a comprehensive guide of what to look for when shopping Medical Alert Systems.
  8. Multi-Purpose Flashlight – A flashlight is always handy, but one with additional options is even better. Today you can get rechargeable, bright flashlights with other useful tools included such as USB ports, a compass, a knife, a emergency signal and more.
  9. Weather and Hazard Alert Radio — These hazard specific radios work only with a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR (Working with the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Alert System) broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).
  10. Safety Training Classes — You can buy your loved ones gift certificates for important classes to train in CPR, Gun Safety and more! Visit our website to learn what classes we have available to equip our students with important knowledge on how to stay safe and prepared to handle dangerous situations.

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We wish you and your loved ones a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!

💻 📬 📦 Online Shopping – Stay Safe & Keep It Simple 💻 📬 📦

 

Now that we are in the midst of the Holiday Shopping Season, we are trying to find ways to complete our gift lists while avoiding the hassle of crowded shopping centers, parking lots and all of the other external stressors that subtract from the joys of gift giving. Many people have chosen to bypass these hassles all together by doing all of their shopping online.

Golden think safety key on keyboard
Golden think safety key on keyboard

While shopping online is convenient in so many ways, it also has it’s own set of precautions that we need to consider. Anything device connected to the Internet, including smartphones and tablets need to be protected – especially during heavy use periods, like the holidays. Scammers and cyber criminals can easily target shoppers.

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Being a safe and secure shopper starts with careful safeguards. Think about the consequences of your actions online before you act and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you shop online. 

Here are some great tips to help you find the ease of internet shopping to be a safe experience as well:

  • Use Familiar Websites rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray. If you know the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off. We all know Amazon.com and that it carries everything under the sun; likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Target to Best Buy.
  • Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)—those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that’s how they trick you into giving up your info!
  • Look for the Lock and NEVER buy anything that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
  • Conduct research when using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
  • Personal information is like money so value it and protect it! When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
  • Be on alert for emails that might get us to act quickly and click through links and open attachments. Be wary of emails about problems with your credit cards or an account or the status of online order. Criminals know we are price sensitive when shopping online. Exercise caution when seeing and ad offer where the discount is way below normal.
  • Don’t Tell All! No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up the least amount of information.
  • Use safe payment options! Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. 
  • Read return and other polices so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.
  • Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging on to key accounts, such as email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
  • Keep a clean machine by keeping all web-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
  • Reinforce your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
  • Make your password tough! A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “ILove2MyNewCar!”)
  • Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber-criminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords. 
  • Check your statements regularly and don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online frequently during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. (After all, there’s more than one way to get to your money.) If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.

packagesxmas.jpgNow that you know the safest ways to shop, you’re only concern should be what is the best gifts to give your friends and family! If your loved ones are as concerned about internet security as you are, we recommend an online security tool.

Click here to see the top 10 Antivirus Software Programs of 2016!

Click here to see the top Identity Theft Protection Services of 2016!

Have a safe and wonderful Holiday Season!

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Keep Your Family Safe From Online Predators – Internet Safety Tips for Parents, Kids & Teens

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Internet Safety for Parents:

Children and teens use a wide array of online services, and each can have different safety concerns. There are some basic tips, however, that you can utilize for all types of internet use.

Make sure the computer your children have access to is in a communal area of your home.

Set limits with your kids as to which sites they may have access to and for how long.

Remember, technology is mobile now, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops. Installing a parental control app may give you some additional peace of mind.

Spend time with your kids online. Let them show you what they like to do online.

Be aware of who is communicating with your kids online and set rules and boundaries for social networking, messaging, chatting, e-mailing, gaming, and webcam use.

Keep a continuous dialogue with your children about online safety.

There are many online tools available to help control control your childrens’ access to adult material and help protect them from Online predators. Although no option is going to guarantee that they’ll be safe from all of the risks on the Internet, it may help reduce their risk. Do your research and find your best options.

Many Internet service providers provide parental control options to block certain items and content from coming onto a computer. You can also get software that helps block access to certain sites based on a “bad site” list that your ISP creates. There are filtering programs can block sites from coming in and restrict personal information from being sent online. Other programs can monitor and track online activity.

Make sure your kids create a screen name that you know to protect their real identity.

There can be warning signs if a child being or becoming a target of an online predator. These may include: spending more than the usual amount of time online, especially at night, phone calls from people you don’t know, or unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail. Changes in your child’s behavior: If they suddenly turn off the computer when you walk into the room. Be sure to question why and monitor their computer time more often and more closely. Withdrawal from daily activities and family life can also be a warning sign.

Be sure to contact your police department and/or the FBI if your child has received pornography or has been the target of an online sex offender.

Internet Safety Tips for Kids and Teens

Never post your personal information, such as a cell phone number, home number, home address, or your location on any social networking site or through mobile apps like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram.

Never meet in person with anyone you first “met” on the internet. If someone asks to meet you, tell your parents or guardian right away. Some people may not be who they say they are.

Check with your parents before you post pictures of yourself or others online. Do not post inappropriate pictures of anyone.

Never respond to mean or rude texts, messages, and e-mails. Delete any unwanted messages. You may need to delete friends who continuously bother you or post things that are not appropriate.

NEVER share your password with anyone, including your best friend. The only people who should know your password are your parents or guardian.

Do not download or install software or anything on your computer or cell phone before checking with your parents or guardian.

Use the privacy settings of social networking sites.

If anything makes you feel uncomfortable online, while gaming or when using your cell phone, talk with your parents or guardian right away.