How the Apple Watch Saved My Mother’s Life. The Power of Community, Technology, and Service Combined.
I would have never guessed I’d write a blog post about how the Apple Watch saved my mother’s life, but it did. A few weeks ago, she was coming into her house while carrying groceries and took a nasty fall. Fortunately, she only sustained moderate injuries, but because of the fall detection technology in her Apple Watch, 911 was alerted as soon as it detected the fall. If not for this lifesaving feature, paramedics might not have arrived in time, and she could have died from her injuries.
This story is quite interesting. Here’s how it goes.
For context, I live far away from my mother, who fell recently. The fall detection feature on her Apple Watch alerted me, and I contacted 911 for help. Even though falls are commonplace among older adults, this particular incident brought back difficult memories of when I lost my father to a similar injury. Luckily, *SPOILER ALERT*, my mom was okay.
I was driving and running errands like normal when my phone suddenly started going crazy with alerts. I had a text message from an unknown number and a call from the same number. Since I was driving, I didn’t answer either right away.
Then my phone rang again, and it was my uncle, who lives close to my mother. He told me that she had just taken a bad fall, that the paramedics were at her home, and that she was in the ambulance that had arrived. Knowing how serious falls can be for older people, I was incredibly relieved to hear that help was already there.
Around the time when I first moved from my hometown to where I live now, my father had a couple of falls where he hit his head.
The first time he fell, no one knew. He kept the fall to himself. I called him that night, and he didn’t sound like usual. He knew it was me that he was talking to, but he kept repeating the exact phrase. He kept saying, “yeah, okay,” and “yeah, I know.” The conversation was odd, and I knew something wasn’t right. I called my stepmother and let he know my concerns, and they took him to the hospital because he wasn’t acting normal to them either.
At the hospital, doctors discovered he had a brain bleed. They operated on him, and he seemed to be getting better. However, he fell again after being released from the hospital, and this second fall was more severe. He was then life-flighted to the nearest trauma center, where they found that he had no viable brain activity. I decided to remove him from life support at this point, surrounded by family members; he passed away soon afterward.
Again, this event brought back the trauma and fear I experienced when my father passed away. I’m still not prepared for an event of this caliber. When something happens to a loved one far away, it isn’t easy to feel helpful or supportive.
But now, back to the situation at hand. Being on my mother’s emergency contact list, my uncle also got the message about the fall. He made it to my mom’s house so quickly that he met the paramedics there and could give me the entire breakdown before I had even seen the text message sent by the Apple Watch!
Now that I was entirely on the incident, I checked all the text messages and calls. The order of events went something like this.
The first text message came from the Apple Watch, telling me it had detected my mother’s fall and was contacting 911. The phone call came from one of the firefighters who responded to my mother’s house. He saw fire department decorations around her house and asked if she had any family in the department. My mom told him about me, and he gave me a call.
As we know, First Responders provide an incredible, life-saving service to communities worldwide. Thanks to their dedication and commitment, we can count on them for help in times of danger or distress. Their heroic acts are held up as examples of courage and selflessness – proof that our shared humanity is worth celebrating today more than ever!
The facts combined that I’m a First Responder who operates within the global First Responder community and the technology of social media, we happened to know each other. One of the Firefighters who responded called me through Facebook Messenger. I didn’t answer that call, but he also left me a message on Facebook Messenger.
The next call was from my uncle, who was already on the scene. He quickly told me about the situation and that she had already been loaded into the ambulance and taken away once he got to her house.
I called my mom, who answered the phone and told me what had happened. She didn’t sound the best, but who would after her fall? But she told me she thought she would be okay and was shaken up and more embarrassed than physically hurt.
Growing up in a close-knit neighborhood was like having an extended family; we always looked out for each other. This became abundantly clear with this emergency: not only did my relatives and firefighters come to the rescue, but members of “The Hood” also showed their support with calls and messages that quickly flooded in! It left me truly humbled by how powerful our community ties can be.
It was refreshing and made me feel good that many people were looking out for my mother. Even after the incident, I still received calls and messages from people making sure she was okay.
After my mother’s fall, she was discharged from the hospital after being evaluated. Although she had a large bump on her forehead and “raccoon eyes,” black eyes from bruising, she assured me I didn’t need to come to take care of her right away. She fought with the stairs in her house…and the stairs won.
The Apple Watch did another cool thing. The watch gave me her exact location at every stop she made in her evaluation. The hospital’s address and coordinates, and when she was en route back home. That’s a cool feature to keep the emergency contacts updated.
While I understand the arguments against electronic surveillance, it doesn’t worry me too much. If you’re doing things right, there’s less need for excessive privacy. Some might see this as an easy way out, but keeping track of fabricated stories and details is more complicated. With honesty comes simplicity.
This alarmingly eye-opening ordeal has made me realize the tremendous potential of technological advances. The Apple Watch presents a powerful tool that can significantly improve the quality and security of someone’s life, such as my mother, who could have been stuck helplessly on the floor without timely help arriving after her fall. It is no longer just an accessory: smartwatches are now becoming lifesavers.
I am truly thankful for the technology, the service of First Responders, and the sense of community that my hometown neighborhood showed.
It’s reassuring to know that if anything ever happens to my mother, I can rest assured that the Apple Watch will be there to alert someone. A luxury my father didn’t have for his falls. For that reason, I am forever grateful for the lifesaving potential of this amazing device.
Serial Entrepreneur Severen Henderson (@iamsevy) is the owner and operator of Department3C, a social media marketing agency. He's also a podcaster, content creator, copywriter, and public speaker. In his spare time (which is rare), he enjoys reading books on business and self-improvement. A quote from him is, "I want to help people share their message with the world."