It is always on your mind: experiences and perceptions of falling of older people and their carers and the potential of a mobile falls detection device.
Williams V., Victor CR., McCrindle R.
Background. Falls and fear of falling present a major risk to older people as both can affect their quality of life and independence. Mobile assistive technologies (AT) fall detection devices may maximise the potential for older people to live independently for as long as possible within their own homes by facilitating early detection of falls. Aims. To explore the experiences and perceptions of older people and their carers as to the potential of a mobile falls detection AT device. Methods. Nine focus groups with 47 participants including both older people with a range of health conditions and their carers. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed. Results. Four key themes were identified relating to participants' experiences and perceptions of falling and the potential impact of a mobile falls detector: cause of falling, falling as everyday vulnerability, the environmental context of falling, and regaining confidence and independence by having a mobile falls detector. Conclusion. The perceived benefits of a mobile falls detector may differ between older people and their carers. The experience of falling has to be taken into account when designing mobile assistive technology devices as these may influence perceptions of such devices and how older people utilise them.