An elderly Norwegian man has credited his Apple watch for saving his life after falling in his bathroom. Norway’s NRK reported that at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, 67- year old Toralv Østvang got up to use the bathroom. He fainted, hitting his head as he fell.
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His Apple watch detected the action and alerted the local police after his watch failed to sense any movement for over a minute. The police arrived on the scene within half an hour to find Østvang bleeding from four fractures on his face.
Family say it could have been worse
His daughter, Kirsti Østvang told NRK that without the watch, her father might have died.
"It could have gone so much worse. All morning we asked 'What had happened if he hadn't worn a smartwatch?' He didn't bring his mobile phone in the bathroom. It's amazing that he got so quick help from the alarm, until the police found him. It was a serious fall..."
The latest Apple Watch contains not only fall detection but has an embedded electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which can monitor your heart rate and can check for heart arrhythmia. Wearable technology for the elderly and vulnerable is a growing market.
Wearable technology helps elderly live independently
Wearable technology for seniors isn’t just limited to watches with alert falls. There is a range of products designed to keep seniors safe in their homes.
For example, the Lively Mobile is a wearable pendant that has a fall alert function so local authorities can be notified.
But it goes one step further than Apple incorporating a two-way talk feature so the person that fell can communicate with live agents if they need to. The device is designed to be worn in the shower where most falls occur.
Technology getting smaller and cheaper
Other exciting ideas include the GPS smart sole. These inner soles are worn inside shoes and track the user's movement via GPS. The soles send a signal to a connected mobile device every 5-10 minutes. This is a great device for elderly who have memory problems and need help finding her way around once familiar territory.
The tracking can also be set up to go to a phone of a relative so they can keep a protective eye on their loved ones. Another special and potentially life-saving wearable is the Care Touch Wrist Blood Pressure Cuff Monitor.
If you have a condition related to blood pressure, the cuff gives accurate readings in under a minute. It has a large, bright LCD screen and it can store up to 60 recent readings for health tracking.
Wearables continue to grow as advances in small, lightweight devices continue. Many researchers are investigating ways to embed wearables that monitor health and movement into clothes for even less invasive feedback.