Emergency Safety Tech Moves Beyond The Elderly

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Since 1987, the bastion of Life Alert’s commercials for its Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), the term has become almost totally associated with the elderly.

That may be changing.

In a surprising statistic from new Parks Associates research on connected health, 40% of 18- to 24-year-olds report using a device or app that automatically calls for help in case of an emergency -- compared to just 13% of those aged 65 and older.

Opening a recent Parks webinar, director of research Kristen Hanich said the key drivers for the technology in this Gen Z  demographic, are, in order: general peace of mind; safety when exercising outdoors, such as running, hiking or cycling; monitoring an elderly loved one;monitoring a child's location and safety; monitoring a wearer with a chronic health condition; and such dangerous situations as walking alone or being a lone worker or on a night shift.



But how can marketers increase adoption of such technology by the elderly themselves?

Back in 2018, Parks Vice President of Research Jennifer Kent told Marketing Daily that the “I’ve fallen” mantra had actually created a hard-to-shake stigma, resulting in strong resistance among older people.

Now, so to speak, a “child” -- or many of them -- shall lead them.

“Adoption by younger folks will remove some of the stigma that seniors face,” said Hanich. “Will anyone be embarrassed at using a fall detection solution that their very active grandchild personally uses and recommends?”

Real-world examples of how PERS systems are moving beyond just the elderly were provided in a keynote webinar talk by Brock Winzeler, president of  Becklar Personal Health and Safety, a leader in such fields as safety technology for senior care facilities.

For example, he said, Becklar has recently contracted with a state government to provide emergency services for over 1700 social workers, who are frequently in the homes of at-risk individuals.

“We provide a very discreet Bluetooth safety button that pairs with the worker's smartphone,” he explained. “If they're at someone's home and the visit escalates to a dangerous situation, they can press the button and create an alarm, which will send help to the worker.”

In another example, he said, Becklar has teamed with the nonprofit People in Need to provide support for humanitarian aid workers in such hotspots as Ukraine.

“People in Need had a challenge keeping track of their team members working in hostile areas,” he explained. “We are providing an easy-to-use tool that helps keep track of their workers at all times.”

The tool uses GPS, check-in features and geofencing.

“If a worker encounters a hostile situation, they can activate their application SOS to request help.”

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