Cell Phones vs. Alert Pendants if Seniors Should Fall

Help! I’ve Fallen! 


Are cell phones and alert pendant equally effective in getting help when an older person falls? We had that discussion the other night at dinner with friends. We remembered that 97-year-old Senior Advisor, R, had neither cell phone nor pendant and spent the better part of 3 hours trying to crawl and drag her body about 40 feet to a phone, then figure out how to get the phone down so she could call 911. We agreed: the quicker the response that sends appropriate help, the better.


>My “best cell phone for seniors” post has been read well over 34,290 times*–many more times than the two carefully researched posts on Alert Pendants. 
>Falls are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among adults age 65 and older:” Oregon Research Institute Study 2008
>Every 18 seconds an older adult is in the emergency room because of a fall:” Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
>1 in 3 adults over 65 will fall every year.
>falls cause 300,000 hip fractures a year.

As if confirming the above–two far-away-living friends recently fell and broke their hips. One, an accomplished equestrian just over 65 who still jumps competitively, was rushing to leave home, arms loaded with stuff, and tripped over their old dog who was lying in an unexpected place. The other, an active 71-year-old,  wrote: “I was stopped in my rushing-about tracks when I fell and broke my hip in early June…I am now driving.”

Judging from the # of views plus the comments on my “best cell phones for seniors” post, children and grandchildren see cell phones as especially valuable for older people in emergency situations. But how effective are cell phones (even with the recommended ICE or an emergency button) in getting timely help if someone is alone and falls?

  • Most older people don’t carry cell phones everywhere with them (ie. at home– to the bathroom where many falls take place).
  • A cell phone in a pocket or purse may be unreachable.
  • Older (as well as younger) people can forget to recharge cell phones.
  • If one falls and is unconscious how is help alerted?

While cell phones have wonderful advantages for aging parents and make great gifts, if we want to give older people the most protection if they should fall, the alert pedants’ technology is superior–having none of the problems just listed, assuming one wears the pendant or bracelet. (If Tiffany made alert pendants would people be more inclined to buy–and wear–them?)

When there’s a risk of falling because of age, I–for one–would certainly prefer to know who was orchestrating my rescue (the alert pendant company’s trained responders) as opposed to leaving it to chance.  That said, for the benefit of aging parents and grandparents, check out the two posts featuring “alert pendants.” Older people tend to get them after they’ve fallen or a good friend has fallen and “converts” them….after the horse is out of the barn so to speak. Why wait?

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

*statistic updated 1/11/13


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s