Falling downstairs

Reducing Falls in Seniors Using Technology

I’ve written many articles and blog posts about home safety for seniors – how to reduce the risk of falls by changing the environment and by managing health and medical issues. Falls at any age can be serious, but as we age, one fall can start a domino effect, leading to severe disability or even death.

Over the years, researchers have been trying to find ways to predict who is at highest risk of falling and how we can best prevent these accidents from happening. There have been studies that use scores, assessing mental and physical ability, for example, but nothing seems to be too effective yet. Now, with technology advancing as it is, perhaps there is a solution.

According to this press release, researchers have developed sensors that monitor a person’s gait and stride, and could predict if the person is at risk for falling within the next few weeks. The sensors kept track of regular motion and walking, and picked up on any changes that could indicate weakness or an irregularity.

“Results from an analysis of the sensor system data found that a gait speed decline of 5 centimeters per second was associated with an 86.3 percent probability of falling within the following three weeks. Researchers also found that shortened stride length was associated with a 50.6 percent probability of falling within the next three weeks.”
If something like this is successful in predicting falls, this could not only help reduce falls, but reduce the worry of family members who are concerned about their older relatives living alone. Good news all around. Kudos to the researchers who are working to keep our seniors safe. After all, it could help us one day too.

Marijke Vroomen Durning RN has written articles, promotional material, and continuing medical education (CME) for health care professionals, as well as patient information sheets and articles for the general public. She has also co-authored several books. Her blog was chosen as one of the Top 10 Canadian Health and Fitness Blogs by SheKnows Canada and one of the Top 50 Nursing Blogs for 2015. She is the author of Just the Right Dose: Your Smart Guide to Prescription Drugs & How to Take Them Safely. To learn more about the book, please visit JustTheRightDose.com. You can also go directly to Amazon or Kobo to purchase it. Please also visit http://medhealthwriter.blogspot.ca/ and http://medhealthwriter.com/.

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