On November 7, legendary Canadian songwriter and artist Leonard Cohen died after falling in his house in the middle of the night. His manager has since suggested the fall contributed to the singer’s unfortunate death, further highlighting the risk of falling in seniors.
Every year, one in four seniors reports experiencing a fall. However, the actual figure may be much higher, since if they self-diagnose as unharmed, more than 50% won’t even mention it to their doctor. That is both unfortunate and dangerous, given how a fall can cause a whole host of medical problems that might not be immediately apparent. A sudden loss of balance can be a sign of a previously undiagnosed medical problem. What’s more, certain medications can interact with each other in such a way as to increase the likelihood of falling.
Head injuries as a result of falling may lead to neurological problems or internal bleeding. Falls also frequently cause soft tissue damage or broken bones.
Above: Boundary breaking music icon Leonard Cohen performs his hit song "Suzanne" live on stage. (Source: Rolling Stone)
Your doctor needs to be aware
if you have fallen.
If you are a senior reading this, we urge you to report any fall you may have had regardless of how trivial you think it was. If you are family or caregiver, particularly of someone who lives alone, it’s crucial to discuss this information with your loved one's medical professional.
What Causes Senior Falls?
There are numerous conditions alone, and in conjunction with each other, that can lead to senior falls. Some neurological conditions, in combination with the sedentary lifestyle of a retiree, can provoke balance problems. Low blood pressure due to diabetes or medications can also cause seniors to faint. Other common conditions include bad depth perception, glaucoma, cataracts, or just poor vision.
How Automatic Fall Detection Works
Medical alert systems with fall detection features are programmed with an algorithm that can sense sudden or abnormal changes in movement and direction through accelerometers and gyroscopes. Once a fall detection device senses a fall, it will automatically alert the monitoring center after a period of inactivity.
Is Medical Alert Fall Detection Effective?
Fall detection technology has improved considerably since its early iterations, and can now discern between a fall and ordinary gestures with greater accuracy and speed, (some companies even claim up to 95% accuracy). Current hardware used by the best medical alert companies offers effective fall detection features that may prove extremely useful for seniors as an additional security measure.
If you’re looking for a product that can allow you or your loved one to maintain an independent lifestyle and provide you with peace of mind, our advertising partner Medical Guardian offers plans that feature the most accurate fall detection technology in the market.
Fall Detection Costs
Medical alert companies tend to offer fall detection as an add-on feature for most mid-range and premium packages. Monthly costs for base units and mobile systems can range between $35 and $50 a month, depending on the features and devices selected, with some companies charging additional fees for activation or secondary pendants.
The price of medical alert systems can seem quite reasonable when compared to the immeasurable value of a human life and the exorbitant costs of hospital stays and medical bills. Moreover, these systems may be the best option for those suffering from life-threatening health conditions that could make them more likely to faint or lose consciousness.
Additional Ways to Prevent Falls
To minimize the chance of falls, make sure your home is well lit and uncluttered, and that carpets and rugs are secure and flat on the ground. Additional measures could include installing grab bars in bathrooms, handrails on stairways, and non-slip adhesive strips or rubber mats on slippery surfaces such as steps or kitchen floors.
If you’re looking for comprehensive protection, however, consider how new technologies could provide you with peace of mind, even in a worst-case scenario. A medical alert device with fall detection could be an excellent additional security measure for those who may not be able to call for help in the event of an emergency.