The world population is aging at a rapid pace. In 2013, the elderly population accounted for 7.9% of the total world population and will constitute 12% of the total population by 2030. Growing geriatric population is increasingly at risk of accidental falls. Falls are the leading cause of injuries in adults over 65 years of age and second leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide. One out of three adults aged over 65 years fall each year, leading to fatal and non-fatal injuries. Accidental falls are inevitable in older people as they experience weakened muscles and strength, poor vision and other diseased conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The rise in number of accidental falls will also lead to increase in costs to government to treat those injuries. Nonetheless, majority of these injuries, if addressed in a timely manner, can prevent severe debilitating conditions such as head traumas and hip fractures in elderlies.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. alone, the direct costs related to fall injuries was $36 billion in 2012 and is estimated to grow to $59.6 billion by 2020. Fractures and hip fractures in particular are the most common injuries related to elderly falls, costing $18.8 billion in 2012. Hospitalization costs account for 44% of the direct medical costs for hip fractures.
Increased focus on prevention of falls in elderly people and burgeoning healthcare costs will propel demand for effective and reliable health monitoring and alert devices. Regulations such as The Elder Fall Prevention Act and Affordable Care Act in the U.S. have been addressing fall in older adults through public education, research on best practices and assistive services. Assistive devices such as motion sensors, medical alert systems, fall detection pendants and smart canes aid in mobility and security while significantly enhancing the user’s quality of life.
Medical Alert Systems are the devices used to summon assistance by patients or healthcare personnel in an event of emergency. These help the seniors lead an active lifestyle without worrying about the dangers of falling down and injuring themselves. Standalone PERS is one such medical alert device that is integrated with motion sensing and fall detection capabilities. Such devices hold huge potential for growth as the traditional PERS lack back-up alert mechanism to ensure emergency assistance if a patient falls unconscious. However, the PERS developers need to ensure robustness and accuracy of the devices to avoid false alarms and technological errors.
While designing intervention and prevention programs to reduce the number of falls in the older adults, governments should assess the economic burden as well as intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting the falls such as medical conditions, psychological state and so on. The technological advancements will further aid in reduction of falls as they pave way for highly sensitive and robust medical alert systems and other assistive devices in the future.
This article is an extract from the global Medical Alert systems market report from IndustryARC. To know more about this study and to request for Sample Data / Brochure, please click the below link:
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