For older adults, the risk of falling cannot be overstated. Globally, falls are the second most likely cause of accidental death, and the most likely cause of traumatic brain injury. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in three adults aged 65 and older will fall each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is taken to the emergency room as the result of a fall, and every 19 minutes, a fall causes a death.

While senior living communities provide a safe and supportive environment for older adults, their ability to prevent a fall from occurring is limited. But with a fall detection system, they can monitor residents and alert caregivers when a fall occurs. In 47% of falls, the older adult is unable to get up unassisted, which can lead to what is known as a long lie, where the individual remains on the ground for more than an hour. Long lies occur in as many as 30% of all falls, and roughly 50% of those older adults who experience a long lie will die in the six months following.

Given the risk of falls to older adults, a fall detection system is a valuable tool for senior living communities. By allowing caregivers to respond soon after a fall occurs, they can eliminate long lies and reduce the severity of injuries, which can improve resident outcomes. Moreover, they can improve the quality of life for residents by providing the peace of mind and independence that comes from knowing falls will be detected; improve occupancy by attracting new residents and preventing move-outs; and finally, by providing evidence that caregivers responded to falls in a timely manner, fall detection systems can help to protect senior living communities from legal liability.

Types of fall detection systems
There are several types of fall detection systems, including:
  • Ambient sensors: These include pressure, vibration, and activity sensors, mounted in specific locations, such as a bed pad or floor sensor in a resident’s room. They are cost-effective but can be easily affected by environmental factors and can be particularly susceptible to false positives. And because they are stationary, they can only detect falls that occur where they are mounted, restricting the independence of residents.
  • Vision-based systems: These are newer systems that employ mounted cameras and computer vision techniques enhanced by artificial intelligence to detect falls or perform gait analysis to assess a resident’s fall risk. They are likely to generate fewer false positives, but they can be costly, and, as with ambient sensors, they can only detect a fall in the presence of a camera, so they are restricted to in-room use. They also introduce privacy concerns for residents.
  • Wearable sensors: This type of fall detection solution places sensors directly on the resident’s body to detect falls, usually as an enhancement to a traditional pendant or wristband device that has an alarm button. If the device detects a fall, it will automatically send an alert to staff, usually with the location of the resident to speed a response. Though there will be some false positives, they are cost-effective, and the only solution that allows residents the freedom to roam, granting greater independence.
The selection of a fall detection system will depend on several factors, including the size of the community, the budget, and the abilities of the residents. When considering a fall detection system, it is important to talk to a qualified provider about which type of system is right for your community.

The Inovonics fall detection solution
The Inovonics fall detection solution automatically alerts caregivers when a resident may have fallen, even if they’re unable to press their pendant’s button. The Inovonics fall detection solution:
  • Enables faster response times
  • Provides awareness of high-risk events that may otherwise go undetected
  • Offers input for care planning, including possible fall prevention interventions
  • Supports better resident outcomes
Moreover, each pendant includes technology that enables advanced location features, so that when a fall is detected, the precise location of the fall is sent to caregivers along with the alarm, giving them the information needed to respond quickly.

“This new system has greatly improved our ability to care for our residents”, said Nicolle Blais, Chief Operating Officer for the Statesman Group. “Awareness of a fall event that may have otherwise gone undetected can be life-saving, and we’ve experienced a high degree of accuracy in detecting falls. The location solution is like night and day compared to our original system. Our staff are delighted that they can quickly find the resident, which is especially important in a large, multi-floor community like ours.”

Using API tools, the Inovonics fall detection solution can be integrated into most new or existing e-call applications, leveraging any existing Inovonics network infrastructure for ease of installation. It is scalable and flexible; devices can be added as needed. And, built on the Inovonics cloud platform, it combines reliable Inovonics hardware with powerful software to support continuous improvements to performance, and offers data insights that allow for improved fall event investigations and care planning.

“Inovonics has provided reliable emergency call system infrastructure for senior living communities for more than twenty years,” said Craig Dever, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Inovonics. “The new fall detection and location solutions are a huge step forward, using advanced technology that supports the outcomes that matter today, and sets the stage for providing a better understanding of a resident’s well-being as we expand our solutions in the future.”

The Inovonics fall detection and advanced location solutions are available through our trusted network of value-added resellers. For more information, visit: To learn more about new solutions, visit: