Do Fall Detection Devices Work?

Independent living is vital for many seniors. Unfortunately, it becomes more challenging with age.

To learn how fall detection devices can help, read on…

For many Seniors, independent living is vitally important.

Unfortunately, this is something that can become significantly more challenging with age.

As we get older, we may find ourselves getting uneasy on our feet, leading to trips and falls that can really knock our confidence.

A stumble that our younger self may have instinctively reacted to and caught can lead to a fall. Some falls can lead to broken bones or even being knocked out, making calling for help impossible.

This is where fall detection devices come in because they can identify when an older person has fallen and get help to them quickly.

Here at Acticheck, we are experienced in assisting families select technology that will help an elderly person stay safe. But what are fall detection devices? And why should you consider them?

Let’s take a closer look…

What is a Fall Detection Device?

A fall detector is a device that is generally worn by an elderly person, usually on their wrist or around their neck.

These devices monitor movement and automatically detect a severe fall. Once triggered, fall detectors can connect you to help – family and friends, an emergency response provider or a combination of both – all of which can get you prompt medical help.

Whilst the most effective devices when worn are strapped around the waist, it is rare to find people willing to wear them, meaning they are the least effective in general use.

This is also a problem that users of the pendant alarm face – a reluctance to wear them in all scenarios, for lack of practicality, comfort and/or the stigma attached to them – means they offer less effective protection simply because they aren’t worn often enough.

Many devices on the market are waterproof, meaning they do not need to be taken off in the shower. This is a great feature considering the bathroom is where a number of falls occur.

But again, many people don’t like wearing a pendant in the shower as it gets in the way of their washing. In a similar vein, many don’t like wearing something like a pendant around their neck while in bed either, both because it can be uncomfortable and also can be set off accidentally.

In order for them to operate, fall detectors contain a small battery which are sometimes rechargeable. So, considering if the device you opt for has times when it cannot be worn due to recharging is sensible. Is uninterrupted protection important to you?

Many also have buttons that the individual can quickly press to get help. That is, aside from the automatic fall detection, the wearer can call for help with the simple press of a button if making a phone call is not possible.

The Assure life-saving wristband has such a feature, but uniquely it also offers I’m OK Checks. These work by the wristband vibrating at set times every day and the wearer confirms they’re OK by pressing a single button. This is about the simplest way to confirm someone is OK in the morning and before bed.

Why are Fall Detection Devices Important?

An Age UK survey in 2019 found that millions of older people are worried about falling over. For 36% it topped their list of concerns.
Whilst Covid may have taken over top spot for many, falls are still a major concern, and with good reason. Falls are the most common cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75.

While a fall, in itself, can be traumatic physically and emotionally, this can be amplified by a ‘long-lie’ – remaining undiscovered and untreated for several hours. The consequences of a long-lie can be major – apart from potential death, the trauma can devastate the person’s sense of self, sense of worth and autonomy.

Fall detection devices are a great tool for facilitating senior living as they ensure that elderly people can stay in their home for longer, even if they are a little unstable on their feet.

A loss of confidence after a fall can lead to people being cautious and not moving around their home so much, which can lead to a loss of physical condition.

Simply by knowing they are being monitored for falls, elderly people feel more confident on their feet and move around their own home safe in the knowledge that should they fall, someone will be there to assist them, and they will not suffer a long-lie.

Elderly people’s fall detection devices do not just benefit the individual person, either. This peace of mind also extends to family members.

There is nothing more frightening than finding your elderly relative on the floor having fallen and being unaware of how long they have been there. Fall detection devices respond quickly to any incidents, making sure the relevant loved ones are swiftly alerted.

Finally, fall detection devices are easy to set up and use. This means that elderly people looking to retain their independence can understand how it works and quickly press the button for help should they need it. This replaces the difficulty of getting to a phone to call for help, which is sometimes not possible after a fall.

As a note of caution, many older people recognise the peace of mind their relatives get from them reporting they are using the alarm device, but often don’t actually wear it.

A famous survey in Scotland asked users about their habits and 80%+ reported early in the survey that they wore their personal alarm all the time or all the time they were out of bed. The final question was to ask where the device was now and just under 20% had it with them.

Some devices, such as the Assure, can report if they are not being worn and it is worth considering whether hoping that the personal alarm is being used is what you really want!

Conclusion

Fall detection systems for seniors are an excellent way for seniors living at home to maintain their independence. At the same time, they ensure that family members have peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safe.

With so many fall detection devices on the market however, it can be confusing. This is where we at Acticheck can help.

We have put together a quick way of you finding the right personal alarm for your needs which you might find helpful.

We are here to ensure that all seniors retain their independence for as long as possible and can answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

Contact us at any time for advice or support with your fall detection system for seniors on 0345 25 75 080.