Life expectancy up, but so is death from falls (US)

click to enlargeThe Gimlet Eye falls outside the box, and is writing this from recovery. Our companion in curmudgeonliness, Laurie Orlov, whacks us upside the head with first the good news then the bad. US life expectancy is up: if you are 65 today, on average you will live to 83 (men) and 86 (women), even with the rise in chronic conditions that affect quality of life, such as diabetes and heart disease. But the bad is that death from falls is also up. This is despite all the systems and gizmos the Digital Health Industry has concocted to detect falls beyond 1970s PERS technology. Once upon a rose-colored Telecare Time we thought we could infer falls purely by sensors detecting lack of activity (the basis of QuietCare, GrandCare, Healthsense, the late WellAWARE). Then with accelerometers, fall detection would be automatic, just wear a clip or strap (Wellcore–defunct, myHalo–bought by MobileHelp), a watch (AFrame, most smartwatches, etc.) or carry a smartphone (your 85 y/o mum will use Philips Lifeline’s new PERS app…riiiight). Well, accelerometers work some of the time but not necessarily accurately (check your smartphone’s view), thus our ‘Falling outside the box’ debate and recap on false positives and negatives. Meanwhile, devices which can detect the gait changes which precede falls–not a peep of late. And as our readers know, iMonSys’ Verity, which would minimize accelerometer false alerts through wearer confirmations, still sits on the back shelf, a demure June Allyson in an industry gaga over the Jayne Mansfield of fitness and calorie counting bands.

We could always return to the Dean Martin solution to falls: “Those aren’t cufflinks…they’re curb feelers!”

Fall detection — a look back — much innovation but little impact (AgeInPlaceTech)

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