Older Adults' Perceptions of Fall Detection Devices

J Appl Gerontol. 2017 Aug;36(8):915-930. doi: 10.1177/0733464815591211. Epub 2015 Jun 24.


A third of adults over the age of 65 are estimated to fall at least once a year. Perhaps as dangerous as the fall itself is the time spent after a fall if the person is unable to move. Although there are many devices available to detect when a person has fallen, little is known about the opinions of older adults regarding these fall detection devices (FDDs). We conducted five focus groups with 27 older adults. Transcripts from sessions were coded to generate themes that captured participants' perceptions. Themes were identified that related to two topics of interest: (a) personal influences on the participants' desire to have a FDD, including perceived need, participant values, and cost, and (b) participant recommendations regarding specific features and functionalities of these devices such as automation, wearable versus non-wearable devices, and device customization. Together, these themes suggest ways in which FDDs may be improved so that they are suitable for their intended population.

Keywords: fall detection; focus groups; older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / economics
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Perception
  • Telemedicine