Falling down is a major health threat to many Americans. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal senior injuries in the US, with 25% of Americans aged 65+ falling each year. Many people may associate fall-related injuries with the elderly, but other groups of people are equally at risk. Children, people with disabilities, people with certain genetic disorders, and people with conditions such as low blood pressure or vertigo can easily lose their balance and end up injured.
Falls may result in injuries that can threaten your independence, your safety, and cost a great deal of money in medical bills.
Advances in technology can help ensure that you will get the help you need if you fall. Fall detector devices are medical alert systems that can automatically alert for help as you fall. Using an accelerometer, the same technology that switches your smartphone screen from vertical to horizontal when you turn it, the devices sense when your body has gone horizontal and can clock how fast you fall.
Wearable fall detection devices may hang as a pendant around your neck, worn on your waist, or worn around your wrist. Many are waterproof and can be worn in the shower. The Apple Watch Series 4 also incorporates fall detection technology into it. As technology advances, new products emerge that are not dependent on wearing a device and instead monitor movement within a specific space.
Fall detectors can fit easily into a busy day, but they are equally valuable to monitor bed and sleep time activities too. Here are a few reasons why fall detectors can be helpful during sleep:
- People are often the least alert as they prepare for and wake from sleep
- Someone may have a pre-existing injury and must be very careful not to injure themselves again
- A person who is under supervised care is often the least supervised while sleeping
- Certain sleep disorders prompt unconscious, often dangerous nighttime activities, like sleepwalking and sleep eating
- Blood pressure is lowest during sleep and easily leads to dizziness when getting out of bed
- Nighttime trips to the bathroom, which are also frequent for people who have blood sugar imbalances
Using a fall detector while sleeping could help ensure safety and make sure that help is on the way as soon as a fall occurs.
How to Use a Fall Detector While You Sleep
Your fall needs to be set up properly to work. It’s also important to prepare your bed and bedroom to help minimize nighttime injuries too.
Make sure there is nothing you can trip over on the floor, especially en route from the bedroom to the bathroom. Your bed itself should be made, but with the comforter pulled back to make it easy to enter. Any mobility devices, such as crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs, should be placed within arm’s reach but leave enough space for you to move your legs to the side of the bed without knocking them down.
Now that your bedroom is ready, the detector itself must be sufficiently charged and configured to help ensure the safest night’s sleep possible.
Some detectors require that you push a button to call help, others are automatic. Sometimes the ‘automatic’ fall detectors still require some manual effort to activate. Read up on reviews of your fall detector to learn how it detects falls and how automatic it may be in practice.
You should be able to cancel your fall detector if your fall is non-threatening or if the fall detector sets off a false alarm. It may be easier for you to push a button that hangs from your neck, rather than above your wrist, so consider the complexity of the detector’s placement on your body. If you use the Apple Watch fall detector, make sure that its capabilities are switched on within the watch or your iPhone. Having your Medical ID set up on your Apple devices will provide emergency care providers with data on your health that is helpful for them.
Some fall detectors can collect and sync with other health-related data about your life. The Apple Watch is a prime example, as it can glean data from your Health app, including your medical records, and clock vital statistics like your heartbeat. The data can help you detect early warning signs for risk of many issues, but also help you understand if a sleep detector at night is the right choice for you.