According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 85% of seniors’ hospital visits for injury are related to falls. Even in less serious cases, falls can lead to bone fractures, bruises, and even mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
These injuries are so common that the Public Health Agency published a 45-page report in 2014 highlighting the rise in the rate of falls in recent years and what can be done to help curb the damage done.
As it turns out technology may have the answer. Recently, a number of products have come onto the market to help address this unique health concern. One such technology is AlarmCare, a wearable piece of tech that can help seniors deal with the immediate aftermath of a fall.
If a person experiences an injury or emergency, they can connect with a representative immediately, available 24/7, with the push of a button on their AlarmCare wearable (available as a watch, a belt clip, or as a pendant). This representative can alert the individual’s loved ones and call emergency services.
AlarmCare also has automatic fall detection, which will connect you with their services regardless of whether you can press the button or not. For those who are still active, AlarmCare Go offers an extension of the service outside the home.
Joty Grewal, Product Marketing Manager at AlarmForce Industries Inc., says that “by having a 24/7 security device, seniors can live their lives independently without fear.”
For caregivers, who are oftentimes adult children, AlarmCare can offer peace of mind. Jean, who lives in Victoria, has an 87-year-old mother who has lived on her own since her husband died. “With my mother wearing the AlarmCare alarm bracelet, I am comfortable that if I am not close by, that she will get the help she needs if and when needed,” she says.
Falls are not the only health problem seniors face, as many grapple with other long term conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. Grewal explains that “with AlarmCare Go, the GPS location tracking will let our central monitoring station know exactly where the user is in case of an emergency.” Additionally, the service can be activated in other health emergencies such as a heart attack or stroke.
A difficult issue to talk about when caring for seniors is always money. Families want the best for their aging loved ones however many services for the elderly are not covered by insurance and costs keep rising. “Senior housing costs in Canada are increasing each year as there is a lot of demand and not enough supply” Grewal notes.
In Ontario the average cost for senior housing is $3,200 a month, she adds. However, using technology such as AlarmCare can result in significant savings by helping seniors stay in their homes for longer.
There are many other ways that seniors can protect themselves from falls. Solutions include more frequent exercise, as well as wearing shoes with more grip when walking outside. Even so, falls may be inevitable for most seniors; In Canada 20% of seniors fall each year. However, technology can make it so that those who do fall get help immediately, possibly saving lives. “My grandmother lives alone and has fallen a few times without being able to call for help,” says Julie from Lethbridge.
“She has fallen once since we got the pendant, but wasn’t as scared as before. Thanks to AlarmCare she was able to get help quickly.”