17 July 2012
A new way to pick up our loved ones when they fall
A newly developed database is helping to determine when an elderly person is likely to fall, allowing preventative action to be taken before it even happens.
Currently many of our elderly population wear alarms to enable them to immediately call for help should a fall occur. Fareseeing is an EU funded initiative with the sole aim of discovering why and when these falls occur. The project has compiled a comprehensive database by placing sensors fixed to a belt and worn on the hips that register a weakness in the knees or feeling faint. This has enabled scientists to track details of movements before and after a fall.Scientists believe that the same concept could be used as a preventative measure to monitor at risk groups and warn them to sit or lie down and save them the pain of falling in the first place. Sometimes it still may not be possible to predict the fall and, in this event, the group is working on using social media to inform as many people as possible about the accident in order to get help to the injured as quickly as possible.
Babak Farshchian, from the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (SINTEF), one of the project partners said, ‘It’s easy to get the impression that Facebook is just for fun and recreational activities such as sharing photos and chatting about music, but we are only in the early stages of the use of this medium. Connecting the alarm to social media will enable potential assistance to be expanded into a ‘team’ in which not only the municipal services, but also children and nearest neighbours can play a part. A person who has suffered a fall is often in pain and may be in shock. If the alarm is sent to many, help can get there quicker. This is vital both to the person who has suffered the fall, and their family.’