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Tiny device safeguards senior health anywhere in the US

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Seniors, particularly those who live alone are at risk of suffering an injury and being unable to reach a phone to call for help. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, falls among older adults (age 65 years and older) are common. Approximately 35% to 40% of community-dwelling, generally healthy, older Americans fall annually, with rates rising steadily after age 75. Nationally, and in Los Angeles County, falls are the leading cause of injury death among older adults and the most common cause of nonfatal injury hospitalization in this age group. In 2007, 29,000 Angelenos aged 65 and older were hospitalized, and 400 died from fall-related injuries. In 2000, the total costs of treating fall-related injuries among older adults exceeded $19 billion in the US. By 2020, these numbers are expected to climb to $59 billion, primarily due to the number of aging baby boomers who will turn 65+ years beginning in 2011.

I was recently provided with an eResponder, manufactured by Securus, for evaluation. It is a small, wearable, waterproof device that allows users to obtain help anywhere at any time with its
U-TDOA technology. U-TDOA is the tracking technology that 911 operators use to locate people with cellular phones. U-TDOA is used to locate more than 5 million callers per month. I pressed a button, and within a minute or so, I was speaking to a representative who could summon emergency care. The device operates for up to two months on a single charge, can be worn in the shower, and works virtually anywhere in the US. The waterproof feature acknowledges that many slip and falls by seniors occur in the shower. It was the cause of death for the comedian/actor George Burns.

How the e-responder works

  • If a user does not know their location when they press the eResponder button in an emergency, the emergency care specialist will transfer the user’s eResponder call to 911. The emergency care specialist will wait on hold.
  • The user will speak with 911 operators through eResponder, and 911 operators will locate the user with U-TDOA tracking. When 911 has dispatched help to the user’s location, 911 will transfer the call back to the emergency care specialist.
  • The emergency care specialist will stay on the eResponder call with the user until help arrives.

For more information, click on this link.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health offers a home prevention checklist for seniors:

  • When you walk through a room, do you have to walk around furniture?
  • Do you have throw rugs on the floor?
  • Are there papers, books, towels, shoes, magazines, boxes, blankets, or other objects on the floor?
  • Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords (such as a lamp, telephone, or extension cords)?
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