Falling is a huge concern for the world’s fastest growing demographic. Among those 60 or older, 270 million, or more than one third, fall each year. It’s estimated that falls cause the loss of more than 17 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) each year. Not only do many who fall have repeat incidents, but the depression, loss of mobility and independence, and financial burden of medical care that often result from falls take a terrible toll. Clearly, falling is a significant problem among the elderly.
Simple Wearables‘ solution for fall detection and prevention, SimpleWave, is currently in the prototype phase but you can pre-order from the company website. SimpleWave promises not only to improve on previous “Help me I’ve fallen and can’t get up” devices but add predictability and integration with other devices in a single platform for communications with family members and healthcare providers. The working concept of SimpleWave, the exterior design of which resembles a smooth river rock, is that it will detect falls and automatically alert care providers of the incident and the strength of impact. The device, which is clipped to clothing near the heart, does not require that the faller push a button and report fall severity; according to SimpleWearables, only 20% of people who fall with such devices actually push the button. The company also promises that Simple Wave will be able to detect changes in behavior patterns that could lead to a fall. With an embedded GSM (Global System for Mobile) chip, Simple Wave will be able to send alerts via text and Internet messaging and even allow the user to speak with operators via built in microphone and speaker.
The promise of SimpleWave is to allow extended autonomy to elderly people while improving both medical alert systems and working in conjunction with other types of personal health information and reporting systems. If and when communications and reporting format standards become universal, the ability of devices such as Simple Wave could offer significant improvements in safety while allowing people to remain in their homes without in-person monitoring.