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What is Fall Detection?

Emergencies can happen suddenly and without warning. That is why fall detection technology is an invaluable, life-saving feature in medical alert systems. If you can't press the help button after a fall or during a medical emergency, the automatic fall detection feature of a medical alert system can give you the peace of mind that you will still receive the help that you need.

...movements related to falls are accurately detected through automatic fall detection technology.

Detecting falls

Fall detection devices automatically employ the technology to detect and get fast assistance for a senior that is prone to falls. A fall detection medical alert system allows the user to summon help without having to press the call button. These systems automatically activate the sensor if the user suffers a fall. The built-in technology can be worn around the neck or, depending on the device, on your wrist or on your waist.

How does fall detection work?

Sensors. Fall detection systems use accelerometers, a type of low power radio wave technology sensor, to monitor the movements of the user. State-of-the-art fall detection devices use three axis accelerometers, like those that are used within smartwatches and smartphones. Some fall detection devices use a built-in tri-axial accelerometer with patented algorithms.

Fall detection. The fall alert detectors can measure when the user has suddenly fallen by detecting the abrupt changes of body movements. The technology can evaluate an individual’s body position, physical activity, and the smoothness of acceleration of movements, says the International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications. If the device determines that these variables are within the danger zone and a fall has occurred, it will automatically activate an emergency fall alert and call emergency response agents for assistance.

fall alert detectors measurements infographic

Precision. Most common movements related to falls are accurately detected through automatic fall detection technology. A fall detection algorithm is calibrated for use while the device is worn around your neck. However, certain slower movements—like sliding off the bed or sofa onto the floor—cannot be accurately detected and may require you to press the call button for assistance.

Urgent response. When applicable, a medical alert device can detect a fall and automatically initiate a call to urgent response agents. The agents can evaluate the situation through the two-way speaker on the device and will remain on the line with the user until help arrives.

More great features of fall detection devices

Ease of Use. Rest assured that you are protected continuously against emergencies caused by falls.

Waterproof. Since falls frequently occur in wetter environments, some companies offer fall detection devices that are entirely waterproof that you can take in the shower, to the pool, or at the beach with confidence.

No-fault false alarms. Accidents happen. If you experience a false alarm, merely let the emergency responder know that it was a mistake and that you do not require assistance.

Researching fall detection devices

Not all medical alert systems come with fall detection sensors. Medical alert systems may provide similar hardware with sensors; however, it is at the discretion of each medical alert company to include fall detection services as part of a package or as a supplementary feature for an additional fee.

Most medical alert companies include the fall detection feature within their medical alert system for an additional fee for the premium service. Some companies make fall detection devices that can be worn as a separate device to your standard medical alert button. This second device may be an additional fee to your monthly subscription plan.

Research and compare medical alert device providers and products before choosing a specific system. While the fall detection technology is similar between companies, the service may offer different benefits. Call your medical alert company to understand what fall detection technology is currently offered to determine which one is right for you.

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