When the elderly fall
In an emergency, Secufy replaces the Apple Watch
By Klaus Wedekind
05/03/2022 at 8:00 pm
Safety Companion from German startup Secufy provides safety for single seniors by allowing them to get help in their current location anytime, anywhere with the push of a button. In emergency situations, this also happens automatically, similar to the Apple Watch but slightly different from it.
Nowadays, many people can live independently into old age, even if they are alone. But the danger in everyday life is high if they fall. According to official figures, this happens to 33 percent of adults 65 years old at least once a year in their four walls. In people over the age of 90, the proportion is more than 50 percent. The consequences are more serious for the elderly than for the young, they often break the hips or wrist in a fall or injure themselves worse.
30 euros per month
In addition to special training, pads, or walking aids, portable emergency call devices can help ensure that the risk of falling does not mean that older adults do not have to give up an independent and active life. Safety Companion from Mainz startup Secufy is brand new, designed to make it easy to ask for help especially at home or on the go.
The cost of the service is 30 euros per month, and another 10 euros is due for the 24-hour emergency service. It’s not exactly cheap, ntv.de has tried whether Secufy is so worth it.
The package, delivered for an additional €10 deposit, includes a safety factor with a clothes clip, three so-called Homezone transmitters, an inductive charging station with a power supply unit and a USB cable. You can also wear a safety companion on the bracelet, which is available for €10, but due to its size it is best placed on the hips, where older adults can use it better, according to Secufy.
Setup with the included step-by-step instructions is so easy that no service personnel is required. The safety companion wearer does not need a smartphone or home WiFi.
First, it charges the waterproof safety companion in its charging station and distributes the main zone transmitters in the apartment, with which the device can narrow down the situation in the event of an emergency. Small tags can also be taped or clamped if necessary.
Once this is done, you log in to the Secufy Connect portal. Even if there is an obvious app, the best and easiest way to set it up is in a computer browser. Here, too, the guide guides users step-by-step to their goal.
Personal contact is preferred
Central are the security contacts, of which you can enter up to five. In the event of an emergency, you will first receive a notification via email or SMS, or you will be contacted. What should happen in the event of an alarm in the house or on the road and the arrangement of which is specified in the emergency plans.
For example, you can enter that an email should be sent to all contacts, but initially only person X should be called. If it cannot be reached, person Y receives a call. If after 15 minutes none of your contacts have taken charge and you report it either via the app or browser, the alarm will be managed by the emergency service – if you booked it. You can also specify who gets a warning if the battery level is too low or the Safety Companion is not worn at a certain time.
Sensors automatically detect emergencies
The wearer is recognized by position sensors. With them, the device can automatically detect an emergency and trigger an alarm if the security monitor has not been moved for a certain period of time. Since this can also happen during afternoon naps, Secufy recommends placing the device on the charging station during this time, as it will not trigger an alarm if it is in a completely horizontal position. Secufy does not provide automatic fall detection based on movements, as is the case with the Apple Watch.
Otherwise, the porters manually set off the alarm by pressing the outside of the security guard a little longer. The resistance is large enough to prevent false alarms. If this is done on purpose, the wearer can clearly feel this in the form of vibrations, and the LEDs illuminate alternately in blue and orange. Once Secufy sends notifications and calls are made to the contacts, the wearer is informed of this by means of short renewed vibrations. There is no option for additional voice feedback.
Reliable inside and outside the home
In testing, the alarms arrived reliably with a delay of about one minute. The problem with the calls may be that they come from a US service and therefore may be pushed away as supposed spam calls. Contacts should be aware of this and it is best to let them add the phone number to their address books during the test alarm.
The system always reliably determines the likely position of the wearer based on the closest transmitter to the main test area. In the event of an alarm outside the apartment, the alarm is triggered first and then the position determined by the GPS is delivered with a slight delay. In an SMS or email, the link leads to Google Maps, and the map is displayed directly in the app. With a deflection of only a few metres, Secufy also completed this task perfectly.
However, the security guard carriers are not tracked, and the position is determined and moved only in case of emergency. The only information admins or contacts can always see in the app is the number of steps taken in the previous day.
Not cheap, but simple and effective
In the test, the Secufy security officer turned out to be a simple but effective emergency system. Above all, the good jobs outside the home and the priority given to private contacts were compelling. However, 40 euros including emergency service is no small feat. According to Secufy, health insurance companies usually cover costs if the level of care is adequate, even if the system is by definition too new for the standards that still apply to home emergency call systems.
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