Combining sensors and software, medical alert systems with GPS and fall detection are more accurate and affordable than ever.

woman on beach with mobile medical alert pendant

More and more seniors are living active lifestyles outside of their homes.  Seniors are actually “younger” now than they used to be, even if they are actually older.  Someone today in their late 60’s or early 70’s may still be working, golfing, traveling and living an active lifestyle.

Yet we all recognize our limits, and realize that when it comes to our health things can go badly very quickly.

This is especially true of a person who suffers from a fall and is not found for several hours, or even days, before getting help. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among those 65 and older.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that 1 in 3 seniors over 65 years old will fall in their own home each year.  And once you’ve fallen once, the likelihood of a subsequent fall increases dramatically.

So we see active seniors looking for a solution that will allow them to maintain their independence.  And support their active lifestyle, providing the protection they need inside and outside of the home.  That’s where a medical alert system with GPS and fall detection come into play.

Three technologies working together

There are three components that make a mobile medical alert system with fall detection and GPS location services work:

  • Cellular Network – to communicate with the emergency response center
  • GPS Location Services – to pinpoint the location of the device
  • Fall Detection Sensors and Algorithm – to determine device orientation and discern between a drop and a fall pattern.

comparison of mobile medical alert system pendant to keys and glasses

The cellular network is critical to have a reliable connection to reach the emergency response center in the event of an emergency.  The device will transmit location and diagnostic data, remaining battery life and other important information.

GPS Location Services utilize satellite technology to determine the latitude and longitude of the device.  If a clear location fix is not available due to environmental conditions (i.e. weather, heavily forested tree canopy, inside a building) then a secondary location service using cellular tower triangulation will help to locate the device.  The backup triangulation provides less accurate results than a satellite fix, but can still determine basic location.

Fall Detection Sensors and Algorithm combine hardware sensors and software to determine the orientation of the device, speed and other factors that may determine a fall pattern.  Unlike old “man-down” sensors that could only determine a drop, new fall alert detection technology uses accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnometers to gather data.  That data is then transmitted to a cloud-based classifier database and matched against actual fall patterns.  If a fall is detected, the pendant will initiate a call to the emergency response center.

A good example of the three technologies working together is the HOME & AWAY ELITE Medical Alert System from Medical Care Alert.  It combines cellular connectivity, GPS location services, and automatic fall detection in a waterproof 2 ounce pendant that can be worn around the neck or on a belt clip.

Critical Success Factors

Users need to keep a few things in mind to get the most benefit and success from a mobile medical alert system with fall detection and GPS:

  • Good Cellular Signal – make sure the device is in a good cellular area.  All carriers have “dead spots” and it’s important to know where they are.
  • Fully Charged Battery – make sure your battery is charged with a solid charge.  Best to charge it overnight for 4 hours so it gets a good solid charge.  Don’t push the limits of the battery life quoted on the packaging.  Your battery will drain based on lots of environmental conditions, such as cellular signal strength.  Also, cellular batteries tend to  drain at an accelerated rate once they hit 50% charge or lower.
  • If able to, press the button.  If you’ve fallen and need help, don’t wait for the device to figure out if you’ve fallen or not.  If you can, press the button and start the process yourself.  No fall detection device can detect 100% of falls, so don’t hesitate waiting to see what the device will do.

If you’re active and get outside the home, then a medical alert system with GPS and fall detection may be a good choice for you.  Learn more at Medical Care Alert today.



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