Smart wearables are capable of much more than tracking steps and heart rate. The latest device from Israeli Medtech startup Owlytics is the perfect case in point: a special implementation of its eponymous wearable has been designed to monitor the health of senior citizens and specifically to detect falls. While a watch can’t prevent people from falling and injuring themselves, it can rapidly alert carers, and is thus a potential life-saver.
Smartwatch wearers have become accustomed to the devices strapped to their wrist providing early alert of incidents ranging from heart palpitations to high stress. The custom Owlytics device for senior citizens goes further still, providing “continuous daily fall risk assessment and identifying early warnings of health deterioration.”
This is achieved by analyzing the health patterns of the care home residents on whom the devices are being trialed.
Reducing Fatal Falls
Seniors aren’t known for their tech-savviness, which is why Owlytics’ fall monitoring wearable is being pitched at care homes instead of residents. Once fitted to the elderly, the device enables remote monitoring, allowing carers to react fast to any signs of a fall.
Such incidents are commonplace as people enter their later years, and while falls themselves are rarely fatal, slow detection of incidents can be.
The Owlytics wearable provides a less invasive solution than monitoring residents around the clock using closed-circuit TV or regular carer checks, granting seniors the freedom to go about their business undisturbed. It also allows them to maintain their dignity, even as their mobility decreases.
The senior-friendly wearable developed by Owlytics has now been deployed by Fellowship Square-Mesa, Arizona’s largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services based in Arizona.
A Non-Invasive Health Check
The other ability derived from equipping seniors with smartwatches is monitoring their general health. Indicators such as an irregular heart rate can be the symptom of a more serious condition developing.
The wearables can alert carers to anomalies, allowing medical attention to be provided at the earliest opportunity. And because the devices can be remotely updated over wifi, new functionality can be added, paving the way for a host of new capabilities that provide greater insight into the health of patients, without violating their privacy or independence.
Another small, but significant advantage of the wearables Owlytics has customized for care home residents is that they don’t resemble the sort of clunky personal alarms commonly worn by the elderly. The Samsung Active 2 LTE smartwatches on which Owlytics operates are lightweight and slender, making them palatable to even the most discerning of seniors.
While smartwatches remain synonymous with people who are in the prime of their life, it’s evident that their use cases extend much further. From monitoring astronauts in space to seniors in care homes, they are the proverbial canary in the coal mine, providing early warning of issues before they have a chance to develop.