Fall Buddy will automatically call for help

THERE are many assistance aids to keep older people safe in their homes and they range from telephone calls every morning to safety pendants and security monitors.

Fall Buddy is a new innovation in monitoring vulnerable people in their homes.

Urraween resident Inga Dunwell said the devices provided a sense of security.

"I've only had mine for six months and am very happy with it," she said.

"I feel very secure inside. There are two movement detectors in my home and the Fall Buddy is set to a time frame.

"If it doesn't sense me in that time, a phone call is made to someone on my list.

"I selected people I trust, I asked my sister to record my reminders and it's nice to hear her voice."

Producing Fall Buddy has been a lifetime ambition of Seniors Wellbeing Australia chief executive Barry Sheridan and he said most of the equipment currently available do not address many of the difficulties older people face on a day-to-day basis.

"We set out to develop a better solution that would work without the need for a pendant.

"Most manufacturers are still providing devices that can call a call centre for help, but only if the client presses a pendant, or falls while wearing a fall detection device.

"Unfortunately the problem with these solutions is that it is often difficult or impossible to get the client to carry or wear these devices at the appropriate time.

"Statistics have shown us that pendant devices can have as much as a 75% failure rate," Mr Sheridan said.

"This is because 50% of people with these pendant devices are not wearing them at the time of a fall, and of the 50% wearing them, half of these people are unable to, or forget to press the button in the event of a crisis."

Mrs Dunwell feels just as secure when she is outside in the garden as inside.

"The other day I went outside and forgot to put the 'away' button on and I got a call on my mobile to let me know.

"All I had to do was push the hash key and it reset the machine again.

"Fall Buddy provides security for the family so if you can't afford it yourself, then perhaps the family will buy it for you.

"There's no price on security," she said.

Mr Sheridan said the Fall Buddy was designed to learn the usual activities of each client.

"The most important aspect of Fall Buddy is that it can detect after someone has a fall, collapse, or even becomes unconscious and will automatically telephone for help."

For more information, phone Mr Sheridan on 0403 806 053 or email barry@seniorswellbeing.com.au.

Urraween's Inga Dunwell with the Fall Buddy.
Urraween's Inga Dunwell with the Fall Buddy. Alistair Brightman