Reaching an old age is what most of us aspire for. Growing older means a wealth of lived experiences and memories. Unfortunately, growing older also means an increased risk of falling, even just when doing normal everyday tasks. One of the most common reasons for falls is the lack of ability to maintain proper posture and balance while walking.
The CDC has realized the risk of these falls upon conducting a survey in 2018 and found that about 1 in 4 older adults reported fallings out of which about 8 million required moderate to severe medical attention, and resulted in about 32,000 (more than 85 deaths a day) which rose to about 36,500 deaths in 2020 (more than 100 deaths a day). Not just that, in 2015 alone the medical costs for falls totalled to about $50 billion, out of which in North Carolina alone the total costs of older adult falls was around $ 1.23 billion and about 25% of state wide recorded old adult deaths were due to falls [link/hyperlink]
CDC recommends methods under their STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, & Injuries) initiative. These methods are aimed to screen and assess the chances of an individual falling, the three methods suggested are as follows:
1. 30-Second Chair Stand Test
This test is used to assess the individual’s leg strength and endurance. In this test, the individual needs to get up and sit back down from the chair in a controlled motion and the idea is to measure the number of times can perform this motion in a controlled way. You can then determine the score from this chart.
2. 4-Stage Balance Test
This test is used to assess the individual’s balance. The individual needs to stand by a chair and follow the movements as guided in the video below and take note of every time there is an imbalance in the motion
3. Timed Up and Go (TUG) Test
This test is used to assess the patient’s mobility. Considered to be a gold standard due to its simplicity and the minimal parameters, in this test you only need to measure the amount of time a person takes to move from one point to another point in a certain amount of time.
These methods are research-based and proven effective. They are also relatively simple. Simple enough that here at CareYaya, we saw the potential to make these diagnostics accessible to everyone. By recording a video of your aged loved one walking, our rigorously tested algorithm could give you a score indicating the chances of a fall. Based on this score, you can take the suggested steps like any potential lifestyle adjustments or more tailored care with our joygivers.
How Does it work?
During a session, our caregivers take a simple video of the individual walking from one point to another.
Then, based on proprietary processing with our computer vision implementation, we can determine and analyze the gait of the individual with respect to a model trained on healthy walking.
One of the parameters which we used in our rapid prototype is the detection of a Centre of Mass of the individual by using a central point on the head, the waist, and the centroid between feet as anchor points. The trajectory of the Centre of Mass of an individual could be a potential indicator of their chance of falling.
We are continuing to gather more concrete biomechanical parameters and are on track to perform Component Analysis to best assess mobility issues.