• Gregan McMahon

Catch Me I'm Falling - Smarter Home, Safer Home

One of the recurring concerns expressed by our clients and their families and their families is the risk of falls and the issue of knowing when a participant has fallen so that they can come to their aid.


According to QLD Health, risk factors for falls include:

  • limitations in mobility and undertaking the activities of daily living

  • impaired walking patterns (gait)

  • impaired balance

  • visual impairment

  • reduced muscle strength

  • poor reaction times

  • use of multiple medications

All of which are common to various disabilities.


The good news is that smart home tech can be installed to help with both the prevention and detection of falls in the home, for people with disabilities.


Prevention

It goes without saying that most fall happen from a standing position, when people are moving around their home conducting the activities of daily living. Limiting unnecessary movement around the home is clearly going to reduce the risk of falling.


Smart home tech, powered by Google Home, Alexa or Siri can help facilitate this in any number of ways, allowing people yo use their voice or an app to control home appliances instead of physically walking to a switch or having to open a curtain or blind. There are very few devices in a home that can't be controlled using smart home tech. We have helped clients with voice and app control for:

  • Lights and lamps

  • Fans (ceiling, desk and pedestal)

  • Air conditioning

  • Laundry appliances

  • TVs

  • Garage Doors and gates

  • Door locks, and more!

Detection

While smart home tech can reduce risk of falls, it can't eliminate it. However if the worst does happen and a participant falls and there isn't someone on hand to assist, there are ways in which smart home tech can detect a fall, alert family or carers, and assist first responders.


Some smartwatches (including the most recent versions of Apple and Samsung Galaxy watches include fall detection capability which can detect the motion of the wearer falling down, and can be programmed to send an alert to predetermined contacts.


There are also a number of Smart Sensors on the market that can detect motion of a person ( as distinct to a a pet or the wind blowing a curtain) in a room and start to record an "outline" video (to maintain privacy) while still showing enough of what is going in the room to work out what action is required.


These sensors also detect the motion of a person falling (as opposed to say a cat jumping off a couch) and send alerts to nominated carers.



Once this alert is sent the sensor can also trigger a sequence of actions - for example, unlock a smart lock on the front door to allow first responders access, turn on all lights to assist in finding the person who has fallen and turn off all TVs and music, to allow first responders to hear the person in distress.


Thanks for listening!


Gregan

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