Critter Corner: How Do You Get a Loved One to Wear a Fall Prevention Device?

Dear Angel,

I am thinking of buying my mother a smartwatch with fall prevention features on it for her birthday, but I’m worried she won’t wear it. What is the likelihood that seniors in general actually wear these devices?

Thanks for your help!

Anita Kno

Dear Anita,

Falls are the leading cause of serious injury among older adults, according to the CDC. A fall detection system, such as a smartwatch with fall detection features, can be helpful if you have a medical condition or live alone.

The following are some questions about your loved one to consider whether it may be time for automatic fall detection:

Do they live alone?
Have they fallen one or more times in the past year?
Are they fearful of falling?
Do they have muscle weakness or feel unbalanced on their feet?
Do they take any medications or drink alcohol?
Do winters bring ice and snow where they live?
Does their home have more than one level or floor?
Does their shower have a raised edge they have to step over?
Do they have a medical condition that causes them to feel dizzy or lightheaded at times?
Do they home have rugs or clutter on the floor?
Do they live with pets?

Any of these situations can increase the risk for a fall, so if your mother is experiencing one or more of them, a fall detection wearable can help! But will she wear it?

Smartwatches Don’t Scream “Medical Alert Device!”

Seniors don’t always like to use medical alert systems. Many feel self-conscious about wearing a button around their necks, and the system may remind them of their potentially fragile health and your concerns about them falling. Fortunately, technology such as smartphones and smartwatches with medical alerts built in go a long way toward addressing these issues.

  • The devices have multiple functions, some of which aren’t related to medical alerts, but are helpful and even enjoyable to use.
  • Many seniors are comfortable using them.
  • Some seniors may remain active. They walk, hike, garden and bike even into their 90s. A smartwatch lets them do these activities without becoming a nuisance the way a neck pendant might.
  • A smartwatch gives seniors the confidence to actually engage in these activities. If an injury occurs, such as a fall, it automatically alerts authorities and family members!

Hopefully, she will get good use out of your generous gift and take advantage of some of the helpful features it boasts, as well. In addition, hopefully both of you will have the peace of mind that should a fall occur when she wears it, that she will get the help she needs right away!

For more details on wearables and smartwatches with fall prevention features, please see today’s Ask the Expert article.

Hope this helps!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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