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A Watch That Reads Your Heart?

When I was in school for occupational therapy, my instructors encouraged us to use strategies that avoided bringing unwanted attention to our client. We were tasked with helping our clients do the things they needed to do with items that did not make them stick out in the crowd.



For instance, if you had a kid who needs deep pressure to pay attention in class, put some leg warmers or athletic compression garments on!

Can’t read the menu? Take a picture of it and enlarge the image!

If you had a client who talked to voices in their head, put a bluetooth headphone on their ear!

Older adult can’t drive anymore? Show them how to use Uber on their smartphone!

That’s our bread and butter! Occupational therapists love to find these easy, everyday solutions so clients can live their lives to the fullest!

And guess what recently released that follows along the easy, everyday solutions theme of this article? (Trumpet fanfare plays)

The Apple Watch Series 4!

Apple Watch Series 4 by David Phelan

Apple Watch Series 4 by David Phelan

What does it do? Well, this new-fangled watch can accurately read your heart for one thing! It has an electrocardiogram (EKG) that the Food and Drug Administration approved. There are electrodes inside of the ceramic backing. People can take their EKG at any time and share it with your doctor! The Series 4 measures your heart rate and can tell if you have irregular rhythm. It also sends you a notification when your heart rate is too low, which means there may not be enough blood pumping through your body.

Fear of falls? Not to worry! The Apple watch detects falls by noting wrist trajectory and impact acceleration. Think of the potential! It can even contact emergency services for you in case of medical emergency if you do not move in one minute.

Other features include a 30% larger watch face than the other Apple watches. This makes it easier to read the time, text messages, and caller ID. I know I appreciate not struggling to read tiny fonts!

Apple Watch Series 4 by David Phelan

Apple Watch Series 4 by David Phelan

Good news for people with difficulty hearing, the new watch speakers are 50% louder. This is similar to other talking devices for people who have low vision.

The Series 4 is slimmer and lighter, which makes it more “manageable” to wear according to some reports. For me personally, I enjoy wearing a slimmer watch because I tend to catch on doorways or fabrics when I’m not paying attention while moving around!

I’m not going to lie. I am very excited by the possibilities this watch presents!

The very first thing I thought of was how many clients I have worked with who refuse to wear medical alert devices because they label them as a fall risk.

Case in point: my grandmother. She chose to wear her medical alert device (company name extracted) as a necklace. Granny thought if she wore it as a necklace, it would not be in her way while cooking and washing dishes. However, Granny never wore the medical alert device at all because it was ugly.

Me: “Where’s your medical alert device?”

Granny: “Oh. . . in my room.”

Me: “It’s supposed to be around your neck.”

Granny: “. . . I forgot.”

Then we would have a stare down with each other, which resulted in me retrieving the medical alert device from her room and placing it on her.

Not only did Granny not like the device because it was unattractive. It labeled her to other people as a fall risk. She felt like the medical alert device gave off a negative connotation of being old, fragile, feeble, incapable, decrepit, etc. Please insert whatever negative description you can think of.

And I felt bad for encouraging Granny to wear the medical alert device! At the same time, I wanted her to have assistance as quickly as possible in case she fell and became injured.

So what’s a granddaughter or other family member to do?

The answer is look out for ways to give Granny her dignity back through devices like this Apple watch.

People could wear this fashionable watch and no one would realize that the watch could help them in case of a fall or heart problem. You would merely glance at Granny and think, “Dang, what a cool lady!” You would probably go up and compliment Granny for wearing such a fancy watch.

Technology like the Apple watch gives family members and caregivers peace of mind. I see this tool as another way in which to help people stay at home as long as they like. The Apple watch is a form of support to allow people to confidently live independently in their community.



The only drawback I see is the price. This watch is not affordable to a lot of people who could truly benefit from it. It costs $399 to start and up to $499 for the cellular version.

Whoa, that’s a lot of dough for someone living on a fixed income.

But you have to consider all of the Apple Watch features compared to other medical alert devices. Besides after you purchase it, you are not paying a subscription fee like you would for a medical alert device. On average, subscription fees are around $20 a month, which comes to $240 a year.

You really need to weigh all of the pros and cons for this high tech gadget.

At the end of the day, Granny or any other adult can use this Apple watch to monitor health and use it to communicate needs to family and emergency personnel. It’s great that technology is becoming more affordable in that we all could potentially own a personal EKG on our wrists. The Apple watch is leading towards the same path as telehealth. Doctors are already able to monitor their patient’s weight and blood anti-coagulation levels from home. For people who struggle to go out for doctor’s visits, the option to send their health status by simply wearing a watch sounds incredibly appealing!

What do you think? Are you going to buy this watch for you or a loved one? Comment down below!