Apple Watch Series 4: New Fall Detection & ECG for the Win


My mother-in-law is prone to seizures!

She lost her husband in 2009 and lives in a big two-story house by herself. Over the past couple of years, she has had more incidents of blacking out and falling. Mine, and my wife’s biggest concern, is that she has no one there to know when an occurrence has happened. We usually find out that she came to and had a friend come and take her to the hospital, or worse, that she was in a car accident and rushed to the ER in an ambulance. She has had three seizures in a car (or we assume, because a seizure cannot be 100% determined after the fact), two of which occurred while she was driving. Fortunately, in both instances, no one else was injured.

Since the last incident, she has resolved not to drive. She has become accustomed to Uber, Instacart and other delivery services, and lives within walking distance to a pharmacy, her bank, a department store and some restaurants.

There is still, however, a concern over her living alone with no one knowing when she has had a blackout and/or fallen.

We have discussed many options over the past year, from getting a Life Alert or similar type of monitor, to us moving in with her and modifying her home to be more comfortable to her. Ultimately, she prefers to live at home on her own. As for a monitor, she doesn’t want to appear as a person who cannot help herself. We have reviewed options with her where a device that can detect when she’s fallen can alert for help, but she doesn’t want the “drama” if she can help it.

And then comes the Apple Watch Series 4.

A revolutionary wearable gadget packed full of technological advances and features. A guy like me who is into technology is really excited to see all of the enhancements to the latest model, but the features I’m most excited about are not for me, they are health-focused, revolutionary features that could help my mother-in-law.

First, the heart monitoring capabilities.

The latest Apple Watch models feature a consumer first enhancement supported by the American Heart Association with a new heart monitor that will not only alert you of irregular heart rhythms (which can include early signs of atrial fibrillation), but also allows you to perform an ECG from your wrist at any time. This new technology allows you to go onto your iPhone and send data to your doctor from these scans as well.

The second big health enhancement: fall detection.

This feature hits home for me. With an enhanced accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch Series 4 can detect when a fall has occurred, alerts you asking if you want to make an emergency call or if you are okay, and if you do not respond within 60 seconds, it will make an emergency call automatically and send an alert with your location to your emergency contacts.

The Apple Watch has already become a health and fitness advantage with many useful apps, but with these enhancements and its discreteness packed into a beautifully designed wearable device, we’ve finally been able to convince my mother-in-law of a device that could bring both us, and her, peace of mind. We will be purchasing one for her, and if you are in a similar position with a parent or a loved one, maybe you should consider this as well.

Author: Paul W. Abrahamson

More about the author. I do not work for Apple, though I am an Apple enthusiast. The views and opinions expressed in this article are my own and are not necessarily the views of everyone at Hurley Elder Care Law. Learn more about Apple Watch Series 4 by visiting


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