Skylar helps make falls less dangerous by enabling a quicker reaction to falls and encouraging habits that prevent falls in the first place.
Skylar’s wristwatch has a sensor in it, called an accelerometer, which measures movement and forces on the user. If the wristwatch notices an unusual movement or high level of force, which happen during a fall, it asks the senior if they need help. If the senior says they do, Skylar asks if they want emergency services to come or simply an emergency contact. This is important, since not every fall needs to send the senior to the emergency room. Plus, if the only method of help is such an expensive one, the senior may not be nearly as inclined to call for help and this can affect their health even more down the road.
If the senior wants just an emergency contact to respond, Skylar notifies the contact and stays on line with the senior until that contact arrives. If the senior does need medical attention or doesn’t respond, then emergency services are contacted and their emergency contacts are kept in the loop. By reacting fast and automatically to falls, Skylar can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to respond to a fall. And, by giving them an option for who to contact, Skylar can make it more likely for seniors to seek the help they need.
But even better than reacting to a bad fall is not having one in the first place. As the CDC reports, “many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling.” Because of this, Skylar goes beyond simply reacting to falls and helps seniors and their care providers take measures to prevent falls in general.
Skylar does this in a couple of ways. The same sensor that measures if a senior has fallen also measures how much the senior is moving. Skylar can keep track of the senior’s step count, but also remind them to move around if they haven’t done so in a while. As we know from physics, an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Skylar can also sense when the person is standing vs. sitting. So, if it notices the senior gets dizzy when they stand, Skylar can suggest that the senior’s care providers look into this and take early action. And, Skylar’s medication tracking can keep seniors on schedule. This is important, as a missed medication can cause weakened senses, movement or judgment, all ingredients of a fall.
Falls will happen, regardless of the measures seniors take. But, there are ways to make them much less severe than they would usually be. Through Skylar, seniors have a way to both react to falls fast and take steps like moving more, getting early warnings and reducing risky behavior.
Next time, we’ll discuss how Skylar can help family caregivers.