It’s fairly common for older adults – or their family members – to want to have a way to get help in the event of a fall or other medical emergency. But most devices designed for this purpose are considered unappealing by many older people.
So I was very interested to learn last fall that Apple’s latest smartwatch included automatic fall detection.
Now should I start recommending a smartwatch to older adults who need a medical alert device? I wasn’t sure, so I turned to one of my favorite aging tech reviewers, Richard Caro of Tech-Enhanced Life.
Richard recently spent a few weeks carefully testing and reviewing four types of smartwatches that can serve as medical alert devices in the event of a fall or other personal health emergency.
In a recent podcast episode, he shared his findings and we discussed smartwatches and personal emergency response systems (PERS). Among the things we covered:
- The Tech-Enhanced Life approach to evaluating innovations and newer technologies
- The problem with existing medical alert devices
- What key things to consider, when choosing a personal emergency response system (PERS) device and service
- Why Richard and Dr. K recommend automatic fall-detection in a medical alert device
- Which four smartwatch devices Richard selected for further testing
- The difference between the Apple Watch 3 and 4, when it comes to using them as a medical alert
- Why most medical alert services charge a monthly fee
- How these newer smartwatch devices compare to more traditional PERS devices
- The benefits of being able to “practice” summoning help
- Richard’s preferred combo of medical alert features that no smartwatch offers (yet)
- What to keep in mind if considering a medical alert for someone with dementia
If you’ve been considering using a smartwatch as a PERS device, I think you’ll enjoy this episode. You can find it here:
What do you think of using the currently available smartwatches as a personal emergency response device? I’d love to hear from you in the comments here, or you can post your comment on the podcast episode page.