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Apple Watch
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subego
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Jun 28, 2022, 10:55 PM
 
My dad is getting to the point where an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” solution is in order, but it’s juuuust on the edge of being in order, and he’s being understandably resistant. The purpose-built one is really annoying, and he admitted he has an issue with coming to terms with the necessity.

So, I want to pitch him on an Apple Watch. The two big problems are…

1) My dad is super not-technical. He’s just started using his phone and he finds it a chore.

2) I don’t have one and hate watches, so I know almost nothing about it.

I figure I’ll have a few questions later on, but right now I only have one.

Assuming a current model, how independent is it from the phone? Can it make calls if it’s not in range of the phone? 911 is the important one, but just in general.
     
ghporter
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Jun 29, 2022, 11:09 AM
 
I can’t speak to the cellular version, but I can do a full-on multi-mile workout and leave my phone behind. On the other hand, for a non-cellular watch, ALL calling functions, including SOS and fall detection require that the phone be nearby.

“Nearby” doesn’t necessarily mean “clutched in the same hand as the watch is on.” I loose Bluetooth with my earbuds when I’m about 80-90 feet away and separated by a couple of walls…. So if you can just encourage your dad to have the phone “with him”, the safety features of a non-cellular Apple Watch will work fine.

How old is your dad, and what did/does he do? Is he interested in things like walking for exercise, keeping an eye on his heart rate, things like that? The combination of an Apple Watch and an iPhone is great for those. The watch does a good job of monitoring heart rate, both resting and in exercise, and it’s SO MUCH easier to read the results on the phone than on the watch (even my 44mm Watch 6).

Plus, you can pester him by randomly calling his phone to see if he has it. The strategy is to call every now and then until he actually picks up, then throw in the guilt trip with “I was worried when you didn’t pick up…”. Have a real reason to talk with him, even if it’s trivial. This leads to conditioning him to keep the darn thing with him so you don’t freak out. It works. As long as he keeps the phone with him, and has the watch logged in, they will provide some excellent health and safety monitoring without doing much more than making him click a few buttons on the watch face when he puts it on.

One thing: get him a watch band that he’ll like. Not a lot of people like the “sport” band for casual wear. There are tons of Apple and third-party bands that look like “real watch bands,” so you can find a fabric/leather/stainless/etc. band that he’ll like (and will be easy to manage), which will help keep him wearing it. My standard watch face is an analog display, the “simple” face. I spent so many years wearing basic analog watches that it’s what I’m most comfortable with. Set his up with a basic analog face (you know there’s even a Mickey Mouse watch face?).

This is the kind of thing I’d brainstorm with patients’ families for keeping an eye on them without crowding the patient or turning the family into full time babysitters. There are good reasons to have these kinds of things in place, and whether your dad “likes” having an iPhone or not, it’s definitely something that he can be sold on.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 29, 2022, 11:56 AM
 
All good info! Thanks!

He’s in his 70s. Say, three months ago he was fine. The theory is he had bone spurs snap off in his hip joint. It’s one of those deals where it’s completely frozen in pain in the morning. He has to take a couple Tylenol the moment he wakes up and lie in bed for 20 minutes before he can start moving. Can’t take anything stronger because of kidney issues.

After awhile it loosens up, but he’s severely crippled at the most dangerous point, which is getting down the stairs in the morning. That’s the thing… he’s basically fine except for that, which is why he doesn’t want the full-on emergency button.

He’s started doing PT, and that’s helping.
     
reader50
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Jun 29, 2022, 01:21 PM
 
Years ago, I had to address this (fall concern) for a friend. It was before the iPhone came out, much less the Watch.

We figured that if she fell, she might not be able to get back up. But she could still crawl. So I mounted a wall phone about 2 feet (0.6 meters) of the floor in the bathroom. As the most likely place to fall. A table phone was added in each of the other rooms, which she could pull down using the cords. That way, if a door were closed, a phone was always within reach. We also left an unopened small water bottle against the wall in the living room, in case she wasn't found soon. Or if the phones glitched up for some reason.

These were all wired phones back then. I had to pay attention to adding up the REN numbers. It would be easier today using a phone system, with a bunch of wireless handsets.

She never actually needed the every-room phones. But it felt good to solve the problem.
     
andi*pandi
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Jun 29, 2022, 02:49 PM
 
Just as well to be prepared like that with low phones because when we got a lifealert for my MIL she refused to wear it. Accidental pushing can also happen.

Sounds like your dad is young enough not to be stymied by technology so a watch is better. The lifealert is ridiculously simple but it's all it does. (well newer ones also have GPS for wanderers, I think).
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 29, 2022, 04:25 PM
 
LifeAlert is what I got him, and it is pretty damn obnoxious. It’s far bigger and heavier than it needs to be. It also blinks every 30 seconds, which is a fantastic feature in terms of reliability, but is hugely distracting.

As far as my dad and technology goes, he’s one of those people who has a poor relationship with it. How to use something won’t stick unless he’s doing it all the time. As you mentioned, that’s another nice aspect of the LifeAlert. It’s dead simple. Emergency calls from his watch is something I hope he never has to do, so I’m worried about it being useless right when he needs it. The fall sensor might take care of that though.

Also, Siri has potential. Ideally we could turn on “hey, Siri”, but I feel I’ve got to be straight with him about the privacy implications, and… well, I’m worried about it not working if his teeth happen not to be in.
( Last edited by subego; Jun 29, 2022 at 05:12 PM. )
     
ghporter
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Jun 29, 2022, 07:19 PM
 
Life Alert’s biggest asset is its PR. It isn’t very useful if the person falls and the darn thing that was hanging around their neck winds up UNDER them. Happens all the time. They’re also addictive. How? Some of my patients wouldn’t take them off to shower WITH A THERAPIST IN THE ROOM WITH THEM. They are marketed by fear.

Passive detection of heart rhythm issues, falls, and other things works better, and does NOT prey on the fears of the person of their family.

PT is probably THE best intervention your dad needs now. Hopefully he got there through his doctor, with plans for the PT to recommend whether he needs orthopedic interventions (maybe surgery, maybe injections, maybe “ablation” - like kidney stone ablation with ultrasound, but in those pesky hip joints).

I can personally (not just professionally) attest to hip pain being a major problem for mobility. He has to keep moving or he’ll soon not be able to move. With kidney issues on top of this, there are probably a few other factors involved in those bone spurs. Now is a good time to also look at his diet and make sure it’s not accidentally making things worse.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 30, 2022, 03:03 AM
 
LifeAlert was what his doctor recommended. I went with that so we had something, and then could go from there. The model I got him has a fall sensor, but falling on it would sure be murder on the sternum. Handy it’ll be calling an ambulance.

For decades, my dad has been avoiding the battery of “old-person” tests he should have been getting, but he thankfully relented. That’s how the kidney problems were caught. The upshot is he’s going through the total life rearrangement to address all the problems, including diet.

It’s also including the PT, set up through his doctor. We are incalculably lucky my dad’s doctor is also a family friend, so I get to check “worrying he’s not getting the proper attention” off the list.
     
andi*pandi
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Jun 30, 2022, 05:12 PM
 
I thought they made a watch version of life alert (so men would not have to wear necklaces)? Or maybe that's lifeline.
https://www.lifeline.ca/en/blog-arti...nd-wristbands/


nice to have trust with the dr.
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 30, 2022, 05:24 PM
 
I haven’t done extensive research, partly because I know in advance I’d get decision paralysis. The wrist models I’ve seen are basically wireless phones, but my looking into it has been confined to what I can find at retail, which is limited.

I’m going to pitch the Apple Watch tonight. We’ll see how it goes.
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 1, 2022, 01:29 AM
 
Decided to hold off. Had other technology issues to sort, so I didn’t want to overload.

I’m seeing him tomorrow, so I’ll make another go then.
     
reader50
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Jul 1, 2022, 02:58 AM
 
Any chance you could get him to wear a flip phone in a pouch holster? They're still available, typically around $20, and compact when folded. Light too. If he'll just wear it all the time, they only need charging every few days. Most are durable enough to survive one falling on it, provided it's folded at the time.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 1, 2022, 07:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Decided to hold off. Had other technology issues to sort, so I didn’t want to overload.

I’m seeing him tomorrow, so I’ll make another go then.
One biggie — and the main annoyance I have with the watch, other than 3D Touch going away* — is the need to recharge it daily.

Keep in mind that he will need to put it on a charger and remember to put it back on afterwards, every day.


*) the lack of 3D Touch is annoying in two main ways in my daily use:
1. crossing my arms will often cause the damn thing to see a long-press, and it starts to edit the watch face. This used to be force-pressing on the watch face; much harder to do accidentally.
2. Navigation now has a little red “x” button on the lower right to stop navigation. I’ve done so accidentally more than once. Used to be force-touch. Less discoverable, but safe.
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 1, 2022, 11:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Any chance you could get him to wear a flip phone in a pouch holster? They're still available, typically around $20, and compact when folded. Light too. If he'll just wear it all the time, they only need charging every few days. Most are durable enough to survive one falling on it, provided it's folded at the time.
The irony is the more “out of sight, out of mind” it is, the more likely it won’t get a charge when it’s needed, or my dad will fall out of the habit of wearing it. At least with the Watch there’s “not having a watch” driving the charging.

My guess is the biggest block for my dad would be abandoning his regular watch, which he’s worn for 40 years.


@Spheric… good info! That’s the kind of thing that’s extra useful to me because I have no personal experience with using it.
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 5, 2022, 10:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My dad is getting to the point where an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” solution is in order, but it’s juuuust on the edge of being in order, and he’s being understandably resistant. The purpose-built one is really annoying, and he admitted he has an issue with coming to terms with the necessity.
My siblings and I thought about the same thing. We got our dad the cellular version of the Apple Watch SE. In theory, it was great, but our father kept on taking the watch off to e. g. type stuff on his computer and forgot to charge it quite regularly. Eventually, he got a dumb emergency button.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Assuming a current model, how independent is it from the phone? Can it make calls if it’s not in range of the phone? 911 is the important one, but just in general.
Yes, it can always make emergency calls. Once you take it on a cell phone plan, it can also make regular calls and e. g. use data to share his location.

Overall, I think it can work. But you need to make sure your dad actually uses it and knows how to initiate an emergency call. (It is super easy for us, but for that generation it might not be.)
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 6, 2022, 12:36 PM
 
Fall detection should make an emergency call automatically.
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 9, 2022, 07:06 PM
 
I’ve been waiting for the right minute to strike. His doctor pushed LifeAlert again, so I saw the opportunity.

Success! He’s at least open to considering it.
     
andi*pandi
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Jul 14, 2022, 11:46 AM
 
     
   
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