Wearable devices for senior citizens to call for help have been around since at least the days of LifeCall, which took the television-viewing world by storm in the late 1980s with its famous advertising slogan, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
But wearables are a lot more fashionable now—as are the people who are wearing them. So it perhaps isn’t surprising that a startup called WiseWear plans has lined up fashion icon Iris Apfel to be the face of the brand. According to a report in Fast Company, the 94-year-old style maven also will design several pieces for WiseWear’s collection of luxury call-for-help bracelets.
On top of tracking steps, calories, and other fitness metrics, as well as receiving notifications that will tell the wearer to check her phone for emails and texts, WiseWear bangles also come with a distress messaging system. Tapping the bracelet sends a message to emergency contacts about the wearer’s whereabouts, making it a potentially lifesaving tool for senior citizens—or anyone else in need of assistance.
“That I think is fantastic, not only for older people but also a lot of young people,” Apfel told Fast Company. “And the idea that you’ll be able to do it in a handsome piece of jewelry is great.”
But the bracelets don’t come cheap, as The Verge points out. WiseWear bracelets available online are made of 18k gold and palladium, and range in price from $295 to $345. Most senior citizens, including the 25 million-plus Americans over 60 living in economic insecurity, might be better served by standard alert devices, which at about $30-a-month aren’t nearly as fashionable but are much more affordable.