Fall detection

Fall Detection

Fall Detection Devices: Automatic Help for Seniors at Risk of Falls

It’s a stark reality that millions of individuals aged 65 and older fall each year. Shockingly, more than 25% of the elderly population experience falls annually, but unfortunately, fewer than 50% seek medical advice. The chances of falling again increase twofold if someone falls once.


Fall statistics in elderly

Falls should be taken seriously as they result in severe injuries that can be both costly and debilitating. One out of every five falls results in a severe injury such as broken bones or head trauma. In fact, fall injuries require emergency medical attention for three million older adults annually, with over 800,000 requiring hospitalization. The most common hospitalizations are due to head injuries and hip fractures, with at least 300,000 elderly individuals hospitalized yearly for hip fractures. Surprisingly, more than 95% of hip fractures are fall-related, typically caused by falling sideways. Additionally, falls are the primary cause of traumatic brain injuries, and medical costs related to falls exceeded $50 billion in 2015, with 75% of the costs covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

A fall can lead to a variety of injuries that can impact an individual’s quality of life. While not all falls result in severe injuries, one out of five does cause broken bones or head trauma that can make it challenging for an individual to perform everyday activities. Additionally, falls may result in a person’s fear of falling, leading them to curtail their everyday activities, thereby increasing their chances of falling in the future.

Various factors can contribute to falls, such as lower body weakness, vitamin D deficiency, walking and balance issues, medication use (including over-the-counter medication), vision problems, and foot pain or inadequate footwear. Falls usually occur due to a combination of risk factors. Medical professionals can help minimize fall risk factors and reduce an individual’s chances of falling by addressing the factors mentioned above.


Ensure Your Home is Safe

One of the most effective ways to prevent falls is by creating a safe home environment. You can begin by getting rid of trip hazards and keeping your floors free of clutter. Simple changes like these can make a significant difference in reducing your risk of falling.

Installing grab bars in your bathroom can also be extremely helpful, especially if you have mobility issues. Similarly, having handrails and lights installed on all your staircases can make it safer and easier to navigate your home.

Another great option to consider is purchasing a ‘Fall detection camera’ to alert your loved ones in case of a fall. This type of technology can provide an added layer of safety and peace of mind, allowing you to live independently while having the assurance that help will be available if needed.


Speak Up About Your Fall Risk

One of the best ways to prevent falls is by talking openly with your doctor about your risk factors and how to prevent them. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have fallen, if you’re afraid of falling, or if you feel unsteady. This will allow your doctor to assess your risk and recommend the appropriate preventive measures.

Review all of your medications with your doctor or pharmacist and discuss any side effects that may increase your risk of falling. Even over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements can have an impact, so it’s important to be transparent about what you’re taking.

If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness when going from sitting to standing, the CDC’s Postural Hypotension brochure can provide helpful information on how to manage these symptoms.

Additionally, it’s essential to have regular eye exams and update your glasses as needed. Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma can limit your vision and increase your risk of falling.

Finally, don’t forget to have your feet checked regularly and discuss proper footwear with your doctor. If necessary, your doctor may recommend seeing a foot specialist (podiatrist) to help you find the right shoes and reduce your risk of falling.

By speaking up and being proactive about your fall risk, you can work with your healthcare provider to prevent falls and enjoy greater safety and independence in your daily life.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Falls are the leading cause of severe injuries, particularly fractures, among older individuals. More specifically, falls in this age group often result in fractures of the hip, wrist, humerus, and pelvis due to a combination of factors, such as osteoporosis and other conditions that make them more vulnerable to injury.

Various factors can contribute to the likelihood of falling, including age-related decline in muscle mass, which is known as sarcopenia, as well as issues with balance and gait. Additionally, experiencing a drop in blood pressure when transitioning from a sitting or lying down position, known as postural hypotension, can also increase the risk of falls.

If you fall, it can be a scary and upsetting experience, whether at home or elsewhere. The first thing to do is to try to stay calm and take deep breaths. Check if you are hurt before attempting to get up, as moving too quickly or incorrectly can worsen your injuries. If you think you can get up safely, crawl to a sturdy chair, sit down slowly, and use it to help you stand. If you can't get up, ask for help or call 911. To prepare for a fall, keep a charged phone with you at all times and arrange for daily contact with someone. You can also consider using an emergency response system.

There is indeed a device designed specifically for fall detection. It's called Sentinare and it works by analyzing human activity to identify health trends. If it detects emergencies such as falls, overstays, or absences, it sends an alert. This device is an excellent tool for senior care and remote patient monitoring.