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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 295073, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/295073
Research Article

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

1Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, 23-38 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford OX1 2ET, UK
2Gerontology and Public Health, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK
3Computer and Human Interaction, School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AY, UK

Received 30 July 2013; Revised 29 October 2013; Accepted 30 October 2013

Academic Editor: Abebaw Yohannes

Copyright © 2013 Veronika Williams et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.