Smartwatches as medical alerts

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Especially for older adults living alone, the ability to summon help in the event of an emergency—such as a fall—is a very real concern. With a cell phone in your purse or pocket, it’s easy to feel well set. Think again. The bathroom is where most falls occur. Do you take your cell phone in when you are using the toilet? Or taking a shower? And what if you hit your head and are unconscious? With a brain bleed, minutes count!

But who wants to wear one of those telltale pendants? Fortunately, with the advent of smartwatches, there are stylish options that do not carry such stigma.

Look for a smartwatch with some or all of these features.

  • Fall detection. Think of it as vertical GPS. The watch is programmed to detect an unnatural descent to the ground.
  • Simple one-button emergency alert. In a situation such as this, you don’t want to have to flip through screens to get to the call function.
  • Voice activation. Like Siri or Alexa, no buttons are required to call for help.
  • Sophistication of the response. This is probably the most important factor. An automatic call to 911 can be daunting and feel inappropriate. Some smartwatches can be programmed to call a friend or relative. If they don’t answer, then 911. Most useful is a call to a 24/7 professional service where a trained responder can talk with you about whatever is going on and make decisions with you. This doesn’t have to be fall related. Perhaps your car died and you’re stranded somewhere. Although superior, a more nuanced human response does come with a monthly fee.
  • Battery life. You don’t want to fall and realize your battery is dead. Most batteries last for at least 18 hours. The more extra functions in the watch, the shorter the battery life.
  • Waterproof or water resistant. Ideally, wearable in the shower.
  • Large readout. You may not have your glasses on. Or you may have arthritis or other issues that make fine motor movements difficult (aka, “fat finger syndrome”).
  • Tech features that match your needs. From steps per day to reading your heart rate, hours of sleep, texting, and even video chatting, there are a plethora of extras available. And, these watches also tell the time!
  • Aesthetics. While smartwatches are less cumbersome than traditional pendants, many women feel they are still bulky. The fewer the features, the trimmer the watch. Bottom line is, will you wear it consistently? If not, save yourself the expense.

Looking to age independently with dignity and style? We understand!
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