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Older Adults' Experience with a Novel Fall Detection Device



Older Adults' Experience with a Novel Fall Detection Device



Telemedicine Journal and E-Health 22(9): 726-732



Falls are a significant concern for the older adult (OA) population, many of whom are unable to get up following a fall. While many devices exist designed to detect a fall, little work has been conducted to evaluate the usability of such devices. We present a longitudinal usability study of a fall detection (FD) device tested with OAs in real-world settings. OAs were recruited and asked to use a wearable FD device for up to 4 months. Participants were interviewed at baseline and 2 and 4 months and encouraged to provide direct feedback on their experience. In total, 18 OAs participated in the study. Eight completed the 4-month trial. We conducted a total of 38 interviews (16 baseline, 7 midpoint, and 15 final) and logged a total of 78 comments. While participants enjoyed the GPS and automatic detection features of the device, they were unhappy with the volume of false alarms and obtrusiveness of the device. Many also did not see a great need for having the device or were embarrassed by the device. Engineers must work to better develop this technology so that it is accessible to people with hearing loss, limited dexterity, and low vision. Utilizing age-appropriate design techniques will help make such informatics tools more user friendly. We explored the usability of a particular FD device with OAs and provide design recommendations to help future device manufacturers create more age-appropriate devices.

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Accession: 058451541

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26959299

DOI: 10.1089/tmj.2015.0218


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