We do everything we can to prevent falls: Grab bars are installed, and we keep non-slip shoes by our bedside. But falls can still happen. We trip over our own feet or slip on a slick floor; not all falls can be avoided. However, when an accident happens, a medical alert system can make the difference in how fast help arrives. If your medical alert device is equipped with fall detection, first responders may be on the way before you even press the button.
How Serious Are Falls?
Doctors, caregivers, physical therapists, and senior living communities all focus on preventing falls and reducing fall-related injuries. According to the American Geriatrics Society, though, falls still cause the majority of serious injuries in seniors. These injuries often require hospitalization. In fact, one out of every three people over age 65 falls every year. Between 20 and 30 percent of these seniors will suffer significant injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries can lead to permanently decreased mobility, a loss of independence, or even death.
Why Are Fall Detection Systems Necessary?
A fall can take away your freedom in only a few seconds. Not only can you suffer serious injury and require surgery or hospitalization, but you could be stuck with medical bills. Worse scenarios exist, though; about half of all seniors need assistance when getting up after a fall. If no one is around, they could spend hours or even days on the floor waiting for help. Fall detection systems help avoid this from happening — even if you are knocked unconscious or too panicked to remember to press the button.
The consequences of falling and remaining on the floor can be dire. According to the World Health Organization, the worst prognoses after a fall come from seniors who have more than 12 hours of “lie time.” This means they have not been able to get up from the floor for more than 12 hours after they fell. In these cases, the senior is at an increased risk for dehydration, hypothermia, pressure sores, and pneumonia.
How Do These Systems Work?
While any medical alert system is a step in the right direction, considering a system that includes fall detection is a good idea if you are at a high risk for falls, have a history of falling, or limit your activities due to a fear of falling. Lifeline’s AutoAlert feature, for example, has the technology to detect 95 percent of many types of falls.1 If it detects a fall, the call center is automatically contacted.
While not all falls are preventable, knowing that you have the resources in place when a fall does occur can give you confidence and decrease your fear of falling. One of the best tools you can use is a medical alert system with fall detection. Even if you cannot call for help yourself, if a fall is detected, this device can contact a Lifeline Response Associate who will contact the help you want.