Fall Alert Your Guide to Medical Alerts

fall detection

With all the potential pit-falls of using a medical alert with fall detection, it can be a very useful service for seniors in specific situations or with certain medical conditions. Let’s say that your loved one has a history of having strokes. During the stroke they would not be able to press a button to get help and, of course, they still need emergency crews at their house immediately! The fall detection would activate when your loved one hits the ground and help would be on the way shortly. There are a number of different possible situations where seniors would certain benefit by using fall detection, but it is important to note that fall detection is not for everyone. If your mom is incorporating a medical alert into her life simply because she is getting a little older, fall detection is not for her. To increase long-term use of this type of service, it is important to keep mom’s medical alert easy to use and understand. It is a fact that fall detection leads to more false alarms. This can be frustrating for many seniors and most of whom did not need an auto-alert type system to begin with. Those seniors may decide to cancel their service or not wear their button. If your mom doesn’t have a special situation that requires fall detection, she will do best with a button that she has to press. As long as she wears the button at all times, she’ll be able to get help if she ever has a fall or other emergency! And you’ll even save some money by going with a reliable primary medical alert!

What is Fall Detection?

by admin on January 28, 2013

Fall detection is an add-on feature that some medical alert companies offer. The difference between fall detection and a standard medical alert system is that fall detection is designed to activate on its own based on a seniors movement. If a senior has a fall the system automatically alerts their monitoring center. Sometimes the system might activate when a senior hasn’t fallen but was just laying down, bending over, or had dropped the button. It’s true, these fall detection systems lead to a higher rate of false alarms (which can be frustrating for some seniors). Most seniors do better with a standard medical alert system. With these standard systems, they will have to press the button in order to get help. But this prevents lots of false alarms from happening and still protects seniors in the vast majority of situations.

I recommend fall detection primarily for seniors who have a medical condition that will prevent them from pressing a button during an emergency. Maybe they have a history of strokes or fainting. Most seniors should consider sticking to a standard medical alert. These are better for their long term success because they are easier to use and understand as they age!

Is fall detection good for all seniors?

by admin on December 10, 2012

Fall detection is a really neat step in the right direction for protecting seniors. Someday when the technology is perfected, this feature will be a part of every standard medical alert system. In the meantime, while it may be tempting to sign your mom up for the “very best” and spend a lot more on her medical alert service, in most cases fall detection is not necessary and in some cases it can be very counterproductive to mom’s long-term success. It just is not for all seniors! As you can imagine these devices that predict falls can’t get it right every time. Often, things like bending over or laying down can activate the medical alert! Having a button that keeps alerting by itself or having the paramedics show up at mom’s home without her pressing the button can certainly prove to be frustrating for her. So I only recommend these types of devices for seniors who have a specific type of medical condition. Maybe mom has a history of fainting or a history of strokes that makes you think she has a higher chance of having an emergency where she is not able to press the button. For long-term protection, most seniors do better with a standard medical alert – where they have to press the button to get help. These systems are easier to use and understand, and have fewer false alarms! So consider keeping mom’s medical alert protection simple, user-friendly, and affordable! I think you’ll be glad that you did…

A lot of families want to spare no expense in protecting mom, and that is such a great sentiment. So a lot of people don’t even blink at the extra $10 per month that it may cost to add a fall detection service to mom’s medical alert. But there is more to think about when considering fall detection. One reason that some seniors stop using or cancel their medical alert service is that they become frustrated with false alarms. False alarms can either be a small bother, where a senior will just talk to the operator and let them know that they didn’t mean to press the help button, or a large bother involving EMS crews showing up at their house. With standard medical alert services, seniors have to press their medical alert button in order to activate their medical alert. So when a false alarm happens, which is rare, it means they accidentally hit that button. With a fall detection system, false alarms can happen while seniors are bending over, laying down, or doing a variety of other day to day activities. Any movement that resembles a fall can trigger the device. I’ve heard that the most common time that these automatic alerts happen is when women are putting down there purses (with the button inside the purse). Standard medical alert systems have less false alarms and are easier to understand and use. So consider whether your mom needs fall detection. If it is not absolutely necessary, it may be better to for her to just use a normal medical alert where she needs to press that button during an emergency…

As you call around looking at different medical alert companies, you may notice that only one or two offer a service called fall detection right now. Now, I’d have to say that most companies are excited about eventually offering this sort of service to their customers. But most don’t at this point simply because the technology is still incredibly new. Fall detection medical alert systems tend to lead to a much higher rate of false alarms. Bending over, sitting down, laying down, or even setting down a purse can all resemble a fall depending on how you do it. Many companies don’t want their senior clients to have to deal with too many false alarms. This can lead to frustration in their client base and can even contribute to losing customers. So when will this fall detection technology improve? Hopefully soon! As you know, technology is improving everyday at amazing rates. I wouldn’t be surprised if a better version of this technology is released within the next five years!

Fall detection is going to be such a great thing for seniors in a number of years. As of now though, these fall detection medical alert systems really are not advanced enough to recommend for all seniors. This technology leads to a very high percentage of false alarms when compared with a standard medical alert. While considering how false alarms will effect mom’s service is a must, also think about when fall detection is 100% necessary for mom. Are you looking into a medical alert because mom is simply aging and at risk for falls or other unexpected emergencies? Or does mom have a specific medical conditions that she needs a system for? If mom is simply at a higher risk of normal falls because of her age, I’d recommend a standard medical alert without fall detection. The chances that she has a fall and is unable to press that button are very low. Most medical alert customers are more concerned about falling and being stuck on the ground for hours with no way to contact help rather than having an emergency where they are unable to press the button. If mom has a specific condition that leads to emergencies where she won’t be able to press the button – a stroke or otherwise – it would be great to think about a fall detection medical alert. While it is your choice, I cannot recommend fall detection until the technology comes along enough for false alarms to be less of an issue!

Fall detection or just a regular medical alert?

by admin on February 28, 2012

I’ve previously shared my concern that fall detection can often lead to a high number of false alarms and frustration for it’s customers. A simple medical alert where you have to actually press the button to get help tends to be easier for senior customers to understand! When you are debating getting fall detection, think about the worst case scenario. Are you worries about having a fall or emergency and not being able to make it to the phone? Or are you concerned about actually blacking out during an emergency? The worst case scenario with a standard medical alert that doesn’t have fall detection, you’d black out and then wake up and press your button. So before spending an additional $10 or more per month, think about what you need a medical alert for!

Fall alert buttons with this new fall detection technology are designed to detect when a senior falls and automatically alert their monitoring center. Currently the manufacturers of these fall detection devices are reporting a 90% success rate. This means that 10% of the time these fall alerts are either not alerting when someone falls or sending emergency signals when it is not a fall. While 90% is great, it is far from perfect… The main problem with fall detection is that because of these false alarms these systems run the risk of frustrating and alienating their users. Often seniors get discouraged with false alarms. We all know that if a senior stops wearing their fall alert button, it will do them no good so maintaining a positive outlook on your fall alert system is important. Currently I am unable to recommend these fall detection alerts because of potential false alarms. If you are signing up with a fall detection service, make sure that it is necessary for your situation.

The main concern with fall detection

by admin on November 30, 2011

A number of big companies are now offering fall detection as an add-on service with their fall alert systems. Everyone knows that fall detection leads to more false alarms than a standard medical alert would. Your help button predicting when your loved one has fallen just naturally leads to that. My main concern with fall detection fall alert systems is that seniors may become frustrated or discouraged because of these false alarms. I’ve seen seniors choose not to wear their help button anymore simply because they had 2 or 3 false alarms over the span of many years. The main goal with fall alert systems is for your loved one to always wear their help button. If they become disenfranchised with their system, they may choose not to wear the help button at all times. Before signing up for a fall detection service, make sure that it’s a necessary thing for your mom or dad’s situation and that the pros outweigh the cons…

The truth about fall detection

by admin on November 8, 2011

Ultimately, fall detection is the future of the fall alert industry, but for now the technology is in its infancy. Fall detection systems are going to become much more accurate and much more user friendly as time passes. For now, I am not able to recommend any fall alert systems that have fall detection. I have seen too many seniors stop using standard user friendly systems because they had a couple false alarms a long the way and got frustrated. With fall detection these false alarms are much more frequent since the help button is activating itself when it thinks you have fallen. You may have just been sitting down or bending over, playing with a grand-kid or doing chores. All it takes is a similar movement to falling and the fall alert will activate.

I recommend choosing a simple system for your mom or dad. Hopefully, by the time you or I reach our golden years, fall detection will have progressed significantly and may be the only type on the market. For now, seniors tend to do much better just pressing the help button them self :)