Why Emergency Help Devices for Seniors Need a Facelift


When’s the last time you got excited about a personal emergency help device? We’ve all seen the black-and-white commercials of a helpless person rolling around and being rescued at the push of a button. The commercials were cheesy, but the concept made absolute sense.

Now, envision a world where this lifesaving technology came standard with the exciting active wearables out today. With the rapid progression of wearable technology, it would be a huge miss to not utilize it to save lives.

On average, roughly 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every single year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both genders. The tech around helping in non-emergency and emergency situations is out there, however, it is being severely underutilized. So, how can we change that?

The vast majority of wearable technology and marketing efforts is centered around creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is a phenomenal approach to help people reduce their long-term risk for a variety of health conditions. Unfortunately, this alone isn’t enough.

While establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a great way to reduce risk, it doesn’t eliminate it. This is particularly true for elderly citizens, who are at a much greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and other emergencies requiring immediate medical attention.

Activity monitoring and personal emergency response systems actually have a lot in common. There is an intersection between activity monitoring and life-saving technology that is currently being explored to great avail. For example, iBeat is a smartwatch that helps prevent heart-related conditions by using medical-grade sensors that monitor heart rate and blood flow for heart attack or cardiac arrest symptoms.

While there is an enormous amount of similarity and functionality between activity monitoring devices and personal emergency response systems, there is still a huge disconnect between the two. Activity monitoring wearables have pigeon-holed themselves as data tracking and risk minimization, and personal emergency response systems, such as Life Alert, have niched themselves as being strictly for emergencies. Frankly, they have become quite outdated in the wake of new technological advances.

This is exactly the reason why the wearables and personal emergency response system (PERS) industries need to see more of a convergence. The similarities in functionality are uncanny, and both can be equally important in both the longevity of a human lifespan and in emergency situations.

Technology is No Longer an Obstacle

A large reason why personal emergency help devices such as Life Alert have been overly simplified and have become outdated is because their structural and marketing efforts were made under the impression that the elderly aren’t good with technology. While this may have been a valid claim based on statistics around when Life Alert was released in 2007, things have changed substantially.

Recent times, however, show a significant change, with 80% of seniors 65 and older now owning a cell phone. More and more senior citizens have started to adopt technology, such as social media platforms like Facebook to wearables that help to track their activity. The vast majority of personal emergency response systems, however, have remained solid in their value proposition of aggressive simplicity.

This is why emergency help wearables, such as iBeat, have been able to capitalize on this tech gap that few other emergency help wearables thought to overcome. Technology will continue to evolve, and consumer preferences will continue grow around better, more user-friendly, and more robust technology. Additionally, more tech savvy generations will grow older and will start to see the utility in having an emergency help device.