Smartphone applications enable users to open an app on their phone and tap an on-screen button to get help wherever they are. Smartwatch applications enable users to tap a button on their watch to place an emergency call.
Pros: Smartphone and smartwatch applications tend to be simple to use, and for tech-savvy users, they can be a good way to have access to help at their fingertips.
Cons: According to Pew Research, the smartphone usage rate among seniors aged 65+ is just 27%, and this lower adoption rate is due to barriers including medical conditions or health issues, skepticism about new technology and lack of digital literacy among seniors. The usage of smartphone applications relies on the user’s smartphone being charged, powered on, easily accessible, and for the user to be able to swipe through their apps to hit the alert button. This presence of mind and necessary dexterity can be challenging to muster in an emergency situation.
Using a smartwatch application typically requires the user to also carry a smartphone that pairs with the watch and users would need to be comfortable enough with the smart watch to be able to find the safety app and tap the button in an emergency. Other smartwatches designed specifically for seniors do not require a separate smartphone, but only work in and around the home in the range of the base station to call for help.
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