“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” Even though the commercial with that catchphrase first appeared on television nearly 30 years ago, the ad became so ingrained in the culture that people who weren’t even born then still recognize it.
In the commercial, a senior woman wears a pendant with a central button, and she’s able to summon medical help by pushing it after she’d fallen. Even now, decades later, these type of devices are still available. But with the rapid evolution of fall alert technology, the pendants are likely to go the way of the rotary-dial phone and VHS player before long.
Here are three fall alert advances that have brought this technology into the 21st century:
1. Room Sensors
Seniors who fall aren’t always as lucid and able as the woman in the TV ad. Sometimes, a fall might cause loss of consciousness, or someone could fall in such a way that reaching a necklace pendant is impossible. Another concern is that the senior might not be wearing it — a situation that often happens when bathing or showering, or while in bed.
In any of those cases, no one would know about the fall or dispatch help, a situation that unfortunately happens to far too many seniors every year. Fortunately, fall alert sensors can take up the task. These sensors can detect falls and alert medical professionals, as well as send notifications to family members.
2. Analysis Capability
Even if a fall is minor, seniors can sometimes have trouble recalling all the factors that went into the incident. Did they trip on the rug or catch a foot under a table? Was there a physical indication of infirmity before the fall that might have contributed to the problem?
Analyzing the event clearly can allow care providers to see the contributing factors, and work to prevent future risk. Fall alert technology allows providers to “rewind and review” video footage that gives them insights into every incident, while still protecting resident privacy. This approach can lead to decreased hospital stays, as well as increased resident retention.
3. Fall Risk Assessment and Prevention
As important as it may be to address fall incidents quickly, it’s equally crucial to focus on preventative measures. Sensor technology can be used to track movement and gait, to determine what’s “normal” for a senior community resident. For example, while some technology calculates an automated Timed Up & Go score, Keystone Care goes beyond that standard measure for more insights about potential risks.
Proactive interventions are always more effective than care delivered after a fall, and preventative strategies can also have a beneficial effect on staff retention, quality of life, senior independence, and quality of care.
There are numerous benefits to integrating these sophisticated features into any senior care operation. Just as TV ads moved on from that memorable commercial, senior communities also have to evolve past use of simple pendants, and toward truly effective fall alert systems.