According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in four Americans over 65 years of age experience falls on an annual basis. Falls like these account for at least 70 percent of accidental deaths in elderly populations in the United States. By these statistics, an estimated 12 million seniors are to experience a fall in the coming year—and one out of five of these incidents is likely to lead to hospitalization. This is where fall alert systems for seniors come to play.
Age is one of the key risk factors for falls. Older people have the highest risk of death or serious injury arising from a fall, and the risk increases with age. For instance, in the United States of America, 20–30% of older people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head trauma. This risk is partly due to physical, sensory, and cognitive changes associated with aging and environments that are not adapted for an aging population.
Falls threaten the independence of older people, and many elders don’t report falling because they attribute falling to the aging process or fear being subsequently restricted in their activities or institutionalized.
There are various reasons for falls; age-related changes impair the ability to maintain balance and stability while walking, standing, or doing other physical activities. These increase the risk of falls: visual problems, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and dark adaptation decline. Changes in muscle activation patterns and the ability to generate sufficient muscle power and velocity may impair the ability to maintain or recover balance in response to perturbations like stepping on an uneven surface or being shoved in a crowd. Muscle weakness of any type is a significant predictor of falls.
Environmental factors can increase the risk of falls independently or, more importantly, by interacting with intrinsic factors. Risk is highest when the environment requires greater postural control and mobility when walking on a slippery surface and in unfamiliar territory when relocated to a new home in a new city.
About half of older people who fall cannot get up without help. Remaining on the floor for more than 2 hours after a fall increases the risk of dehydration, pressure ulcers, hypothermia, and pneumonia. All these can be fatal without prompt medical help.
A senior alert system is a beneficial tool for addressing the dangers of an at-risk elder. This technology is allowing concerned children and relatives to keep an eye on their senior loved ones even from afar. Fall alert systems for seniors offers benefits including:
Automatic Activation of the Alarm: In the event of a fall, should they be rendered unable to activate the alarm themselves or seek help, senior apps these days are equipped with sensors which detect certain levels of impact that may be considered a danger to physical well being. With the activation of this alarm, the following features get activated:
- A loud tone of a siren plays on the phone, alerting people around that something is amiss.
- Automatic call made to the pre-fed number(s).
- Fall alert messages to pre-fed phone numbers and emails.
In many apps, this is accompanied with GPS location due to which help can be provided quickly and help prevent serious complications due the absence of immediate help. This automatic fall detection technology in apps for elderly emergency addresses the issue of users being unable to call for help during a fall, which can significantly help reduce mortality rates from falls.
Emergency call button for elderly or Rapid emergency help buttons: As detailed above, these features in a senior alert system get activated in the event of a fall and calls the pre-fed number automatically. Many medical alert system for the elderly also configure the app such way that the app is always there on the screen in the form of an icon which just has to be clicked once to activate all the above features. This way, the senior can get help easily at all times, irrespective of the situation.
Such medical alert systems are often low cost or even free and thus, there can be no reason why this should not be a part of your senior’s life.