Alert systems bring piece of mind to the elderly, patients with chronic health conditions, their family members, and their caregivers. These devices let the user summon help in the event of a fall or a medical emergency. Some can even trigger an alert if the user is not conscious. But some people resist these devices, wanting to avoid the stigma of a physical device that reminds them of their dependence or illness.
HelpAround is a company that is addressing this problem with an app for the Apple Watch. Paired with an iPhone, the app turns the watch into an alert button that makes a conference call to key contacts, such as family or caregivers. The app also connects with the Apple HealthKit, so that health data can be tracked and used to trigger alerts if desired. For example, the app can trigger an alert if a diabetic’s blood sugar levels fall outside a pre-defined range. (A compatible third-party device is required to take the blood sugar readings, or the user can enter them manually.) The system also lets the user share his or her current location with the key contacts.
Users get three free calls with the app. After that, the service plan costs $10 a month (or $100 for the year if paid at one time) for unlimited calls. The company plans to add additional features, such as being able to escalate an alert call so that 911 emergency services or an Uber car can be contacted if needed.