How Medical Alert Systems Can Help During a Fall
The usefulness of a medical alert is often discussed in the context or against the backdrop of rather grim facts: the older we become, the more prone we are in figuring in simple accidents in the home that often end up as fatal. Indeed, accidental falls are the major target area that the most advanced medical alerts attempt to address. What used to be an easily manageable occurrence when we were younger—slipping in the bathroom or stumbling on a banana peel, for example—become deadly when it happens to the elderly. So designers of personal emergency alert systems have taken these things in consideration in creating and fine-tuning the functionalities of their devices.
Who Are Most Prone to Fall?
When we think of an accidental fall, we tend to consider that such accidents happen equally to all persons. But data from several studies indicate that there is a gender-based difference in the occurrence of accidental falls. For instance, it has been observed that men are fifty percent more likely to die from a fall than women. So if you are caring for aging parents, it all boils down to the question of which of your parents is more at risk of suffering from a fatal fall, your mother or your father? On the other hand, data from several studies also indicate that women are 67% more likely to suffer from non-fatal injuries resulting from a fall.
What is not clear, however, is the reason behind this difference. What makes men more “die-able” from a fall than women? Not that we want to make the number equal, or that we’d want the scale tipped in men’s favor, but more so we could understand the situation and somehow do something about it. There are speculations regarding how this difference may be related to the relative body mass of men and women, with men being typically heavier than women and therefore may suffer more damage from a fall. However, aren’t women more fragile in physical construction than men, and don’t they also tend to gain weight as they age? Moreover, it may also be due to the fact that men tend to be more involved in risky endeavors at home than women—they tend to want to engage in small repair works around the house. However, the fact remains that there is no clear data on why men tend to figure more in one end of the fall risk scale than women, and what can be done to address this.
Maybe because there is no sufficient clarity on why such a difference exists that providers and designers of any modern medical alarm have not fully created a “for him, for her” type of product differentiation with their alert systems. We have yet to encounter a medical alert system that addresses this issue, which is providing a differentiated design that addresses the distinct needs of each gender. Of course, it is not a matter of which parent you love more, your father or your mother, but more about making the whole point of using medical alerts truly effective.
Accidental falls are the leading cause of deaths among seniors, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCC). Sure, a fall is not an actual disease itself, but a person’s underlying medical conditions can make them susceptible to a fall—an epileptic descending the stairs may suddenly have a seizure and thus leading to a fall, for example, or someone trying to replace the light bulb in the kitchen may suddenly have a stroke.
In any case, if the CDC itself says that accidental falls are a huge threat, you better believe it. According to the latest data, more than one-third of seniors 65 years old and older fall every year in the US.
More Than 1/3 Seniors Fall Every Year
When you try to wrap your head around that fact, you realize that involves hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of individuals suffering a tragic fate. Clearly, the occurrence, even the mere existence of risk, of an accidental fall is an important issue that caregivers, loved ones, and makers of medical alerts cannot simply ignore. But at least, acknowledging—and knowing—how a fall tends to occur can be equal to winning half the battle.