New test, senior alert system can help ensure senior safety


January 20, 2011

For most caregivers, it can be difficult to gauge a senior's fall risk, which means that it's important to have the proper precautions in place. One device that may be useful to older adults at risk of falling is a senior alert system, which families can install in a loved one's home to ensure that they have a way to send a medical alert in the case of an emergency.

Two professors at Wakefield University, Tony Marsh and Jack Rejeski, have also devised a new program that can help test a senior's mobility, according to the university website. It's a series of animated videos that show individuals performing a number of tasks, such as carrying groceries or going up and down stairs. Seniors can tap or click on the screen if they know they are able to accomplish the task, then they are given an assessment score.

The Mobility Assessment Tool (MAT) represents a new approach to assessing fall risk, offering a tech-savvy alternative to questionnaires and films.

"This is a tool that could be used quickly in a physician’s office or out in the field," Rejeski told the news source.

Currently, the MAT is available on the iPad, as well as computers. The researchers hope that, down the road, the test can help older adults receive activity prescriptions, so they can be given the aid appropriate for their mobility levels.