By: Victoria Lougheed, Education and Learning Lead, FCBC
Often these devices are marketed as peace-of-mind tools to family or to elders themselves.
There has been some hub-bub in the press over the past year around using wearable technologies to prevent falls in older adults. LOOP, a fall prevention community of practice, has published a review of evidence to provide an overview of these devices. As there are many types of devices and ways to use them, the review seeks to help demystify this quickly emerging new area of elder care and support.
What is wearable technology? It’s often a combination of magnetometers, gyroscopes and accelerometers that can be attached to parts of the body or incorporated into Smart devices. Proximity sensors are used in fall detection alert systems and are typically attached to a walking aid, insoles, or beds. Some devices include automatic monitoring by a centralized call centre. The technology has become much more affordable and is now more widely available both as a one-time purchase, or with subscription monitoring packages for the device.
Often these devices are marketed as peace-of-mind tools fo family or to elders themselves. While these devices are not 100% accurate, they can be added to a caregiver’s toolkit to enhance their ability to care for a loved one effectively. Something to be mindful of, however, is that these devices do not – and cannot – replace observation and vigilance in preventing falls. The best prevention? Ensure a safe environment, good nutrition and hydration, adequate rest, regular medication review, and annual vision
checks. Be safe.