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Fall Detection for Medical Alert Systems in Canada


  Winnie Thomas

Falls are a major concern in the health sector as this factor leads to serious health complications in elderly individuals as they decline in health and physical fitness. In fact, most Canadian medical reports show that fractures due to falls are a prominent contributor to the health issues faced by seniors.

Early detection of these falls enables emergency response teams to provide quick response and can help prevent seniors from experiencing long term effects like brain trauma, coma, paralysis, or other adverse results due to a fall. 

Fortunately, advanced technology has helped with creating a solution! Fall detection technology has been integrated into medical alert devices and smart watches ensure that emergency services can be there to provide quick medical assistance and prevent further damage. 

This article will provide you with insight on this product and service alongside reasons why it is a valuable to seniors and people with disabilities.

What is Fall Detection?

Fall detection is often built into medical alert devices and automatically detects when the user falls. If a fall should occur, the sensors will identify it as a fall, and emergency response contact list will be informed. 

The built-in sensor – which is often an accelerometer or gyroscope – detects a drastic change in altitude and triggers an alert message to either family, friends, or a health care professional, providing the user with immediate assistance. These devices may be worn on the wrist, neck, or waist, and are generally portability to ensure the individual stays connected to immediate assistance. 

How Does Fall Detection Work?

Fall detection features in medical alert systems and smart devices covers the act of detecting a fall – the rate of change in altitude – and it involves the entire process of recognizing the fall and triggering an urgent request for help. 

The entire fall detection system comprises of the following factors:

  • Sensors
    The sensors within these advanced technological devices operate with a gyroscope or an accelerometer. Some devices use a type of low power radio wave technology to monitor the user’s movement and detect any drastic changes. The components of the sensor determine the fall detection’s quality. Users can depend on these devices as they all pass through a series of tests before government approval. Be sure to ask your provider to see which best suits your needs.

  • Fall detection
    While the sensors are designed to detect a change in altitude and speed, a special algorithm translates these figures and decides whether they qualify as a fall or something more common like clapping your hands. This algorithm understands an individual’s body position, physical activity, and the natural smoothness of a fall compared to regular movement. Once the software receives these variables, it analyses them to see if they fall within the danger zone and proceeds to send for help or assistance. 

  • Precision
    Medical alert devices go through a series of tests to calibrate their sensors to only trigger an urgent help message during a bad fall. In some instances, however, minor events like falling off the bed or the sofa may not trigger any emergency alert. For this reason, most medical alert devices are equipped with emergency buttons that the individual may click if they require assistance after a minor fall. 

  • Urgent Response
    With the sensors in place and the device being calibrated for a fall, the medical alert system – usually a pendant or wristband – can summon assistance for the relevant medical authorities in the case of a fall. It’s worth noting that some of these devices come with a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way communication, enabling the response team to deduce whether the situation requires immediate help or just some quick assistance. For a complete list of Canadian medical alert systems, visit our comparison page.

Benefit of Fall Alerts in Canada

Naturally, fall detection medical alert systems were designed to tackle accidents related to falls and slips. This device is primarily used by older or disabled people; however, other individuals like construction workers use this device to summon first aid whenever they suffer a fall, for example, at a job site or while operating dangerous and heavy equipment.

According to reports from the National Safety Council, over 80 workers are temporarily injured in a fall, and a large percent of these occurrences require immediate medical assistance. Therefore, it is safe to deduce that fall detection devices improve the well-being of both workers, people with disabilities, and seniors. It ensures they can receive immediate medical attention from an injury that may be fatal.

Canadian Companies that Offer Fall Detection Devices

  1. SecurMEDIC™

SecurMEDIC™ is one of Canada’s most prominent brands in the alert system market as it produces a monitored two-way system tag designed to keep seniors and their family members protected from medical emergencies in their homes. The device comes with a base station, a pendant or wristband model with fall detection, 24/7 monitoring service, and an emergency monitoring center

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  1. Philips Lifeline

Philips Lifeline is another relevant Canadian brand that offers an easy-to-use personal response service that provides the user with help at any time of the day or night, even if the individual can’t speak. The device comes with an emergency button, fall detection, and different portable models. 

Seniors Bulletin Medical Alert Systems - Philips Lifeline Review
  1. Caretrak

Here’s the ideal medical alert system for seniors and disabled individuals who wish to be independent as Caretrak provides them with direct connection to their care contact or the 24/7 emergency response centre with the push of a button. Their device comes with GPS, fall detection, wearable pendant or wristband, and instant access to help.

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  1. Life Alert

Life Alert (while technically American, but offers services in Canada) is popular for its emergency alert systems that provide medical assistance to the user in the event of a fire outbreak, burglary, or potentially fatal event. The device has a large button that the user can click for emergencies, and while this item doesn’t come with fall detection, its waterproof feature makes it ideal for showers and wet environments. 

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  1. Telus

Telus is one of Canada’s largest producers of medical solution devices as their aim is to revolutionize the health sector with technology. Their medical alert system comes equipped with fall detection, a single button for emergencies, constant monitoring teams, and many more. They are the ideal gadget for seniors and individuals who desire constant access to help anytime.

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Should You Get It?

One can conclude that fall detection has been invaluable in today’s society, providing individuals – especially seniors – with first aid before their situation becomes dire. Note that while this feature in medical alert systems and smartwatches are effective, it is advisable to press the emergency button once a fall occurs in case the accident wasn’t detected. If you or your loved ones are prone to falls, then it is highly recommended you add on the fall detection feature when buying a medical alert system.