As smart wearables become ubiquitous, we can’t help but thank the industry for reaching out to the older generations. While most wearables are geared towards fitness, a new niche market for injury prevention, specifically for seniors, has opened up.
If you ask an elderly person what troubles them daily, it will most likely include the fear of falling. As people get older, their bones get weaker and gradually lose the ability to support their weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in five falls cause serious injuries among seniors and 800,000 are hospitalized because of a head or hip injury due to a fall. Once a person falls, their chances of suffering another fall increases twofold.
Smart Clothing to the Rescue
To help the grayer generation out, Brookletts Place previously provided tips on fall prevention highlighting easy-to-follow steps such as becoming physically active. One of the main reasons for seniors’ lack of stability is that their joints become stiff as they age, due to lack of fitness. Taking up chair yoga or going on a daily walk can help return the vigor in seniors. However, one can never be too careful when it comes to preventing injuries, especially fall-related ones, and wearable devices can add assurance.
A handy invention is the smart belt from ActiveProtective. In an
Image Credit: (Source: New Atlas)
by New Atlas, they explain that it deploys when it senses a fall in progress. Chief Technology Officer Dr. Robert Buckman explained that hip fractures are one of the most difficult to recover from, which is what sparked the idea for the gadget. ActiveProtective claims that it can reduce the impact by 90% and it will definitely be a huge help to seniors.
Image Credit: (Source: Ottawa Citizen)
Instead of focusing on the hips, Canadian company Autonomous ID aims to bring protection from the feet up. Their main technology is a pair of shoe inserts called BioSole that comes equipped with pressure sensors. These can monitor irregularities in gait and balance which are indicators of fall risk. Unlike ActiveProtective, BioSole is a device that puts a stop to a fall before it even happens.
Withings Pulse Ox
Image Credit: (Source: Wareable)
There is already a huge selection of smart watches on the market but one that caught our eye is the Withings Pulse Ox. It monitors steps taken, calories burned and quality of sleep and heart rate. An article by Coral on the impact of technology discusses how technology that measures heart rate can also detect abnormalities that would have previously been missed. Even the slightest deviation from normal can now be identified and diagnosed. What sets this smartwatch apart though is that it also monitors blood oxygen levels. Low levels of oxygen in your bloodstream may cause shortness of breath, confusion and dizziness which can lead to a sudden fall.
Image Credit: (Source: Tech Crunch)
As we now know, declining fitness is one of the reasons of increased risk of injuries in seniors. To combat this, Superflex is designing powered clothing which Digital Trends described as a ‘subtle exoskeleton’ that provides support to the injury-prone areas of the body. The apparel is meant to stabilize the torso, hips and legs so that the wearer can feel comfortable in performing daily tasks without the fear of suddenly falling.
These devices are an investment in the safety of seniors, however, they should only be used to complement healthy habits such as exercising.
Article specially written for brooklettsplace.org