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Dublin: 17°C Thursday 16 September 2021

New EU-funded device detects when a pensioner has a bad fall

Around 20 per cent of elderly people receive hospital care every year after a fall.

Image: Old person fall via Shutterstock

AROUND 130,000 ELDERLY people fall in their homes ever year, while 26,000 of them need medical attention.

This can make independent living for many over the age of 65 a difficult prospect.

However, a new fall detection device has been developed in the EU that will allow elderly people to call for immediate medical help if they lose balance and injure themselves.

Gerard Scully, senior information officer at Age Action Ireland welcomed the new device, known as Vigi’Fall. He said that “falls can be devastating for older people and it is vitally important that they be detected as soon as possible”.

‘Vigi’Fall’ is a miniature device that can be worn even in the shower and charged by high-powered batteries. The patch, once in place on the skin, can simply be forgotten about, with the user secure in the knowledge that should a fall occur help will be instantly on its way.

Speaking at EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing in Dublin yesterday, Anne Connolly, director of Ageing Well Network Ireland said a fall can be terribly traumatic experience for many:

Far too often elderly patients arrive at emergency departments after lying on the floor for hours unable to call for help and the physical and psychological deterioration that ensues is often irreparable. We welcome the news that the EU has invested in the health and wellbeing of elderly people through the development of Vigi’Fall.

Also speaking at the summit, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said, “ageing in itself is not an illness to be fixed… We’re all ageing – and we all, quite rightly, hope and expect to live longer than previous generations, with better quality of life.”

A €2 million EU investment allowed for the development of Vigi’Fall, which will be available in Ireland later in the year.

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Here’s how VigiFall works:


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