Tech Trends

Apple Watch 4 may be the holiday present of choice for aging parents this year

With the release of the Apple Watch 4, it finally may have some features that make it a “must have” device for aging adults. I will look for Christmas sales to be through the roof for people who are buying for their aging parents.

The key features we see that fit this need:

  • Fall monitoring – remember the commercials “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” This is built in now, and is turned on automatically for users age 65 or older; otherwise, it can be activated within the watch’s settings. If prompted the watch will call, and send a message, to emergency contacts, or the alert can be dismissed. However, if the wearer is unresponsive for 60 seconds, the watch will automatically call 911, notify emergency contacts, send the user’s current location, and display personal Medical ID number for emergency personnel. Falls can be a serious event and the apple watch allows for a personal, mobile health emergency system.
  • 3 new heart monitoring features to fit a number of big heart health issues:
    • Calorie burn during workouts can be calculated through the watch, along with resting heart rates and notifications of elevated heart rates. Low heart rates can be detected, this can be an indicator that the heart isn’t pumping enough blood throughout the body. Too low of a heart rate could result in lightheadedness/dizziness, difficulty concentrating, fainting, or shortness of breath.
    • The watch is also capable of user heart screenings. It can discover irregular heart activity, atrial fibrillation, that can be caused from an irregular, or out of sync, heartbeat between the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (the ventricles). Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that can require medical attention. Symptoms include: heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness.
    • The third new heart monitoring feature of the Apple Watch 4 is the electrocardiography (ECG), which is the process of recording electrical activity in the heart over a period of time. Each electrical pulse represents one heartbeat. The ECG resembles an electrocardiogram, and can produce a waveform of these electrical signals in just 30 seconds.
  • Data predictions. The fact that they will have data on so many people will be huge for them to predict heart or related health problems over the time based on Machine Learning on this data set. Apple is also currently working on a function of the Health app, which will help organize medical records into one location. These medical records include: allergies, vitals, test results, immunizations, conditions, etc. This feature of the app, while still in Beta testing, could be a revolutionary addition to the health monitoring system of Apple products.

The device has FDA clearance now which is a significant step toward FDA Approval which is more rigorous but hey, it’s a great start. If they have a great uptake based on these features I would expect this to move toward full FDA Approval.

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