My mother-in-law lives with us and is in poor health. She is wheelchair bound and has COPD, needing assistance with an oxygen compressor and oxygen tanks.

In recent weeks, there have been a few emergencies where she fell out of her wheelchair and needed immediate assistance, but it was the early morning, and no one was awake to check on her for about an hour. She has an iPhone and knows how to use "Hey Siri," but the phone wasn't within reach and wasn't registering her voice, which is very quiet and raspy.

I'm looking for some way for her to carry a small device that she could press a button on and an alert would immediately be sent to at least one, preferably multiple phones (mine, my wife's, my son's).

All the emergency medical devices I've found are subscription based and contact a third party. My mother-in-law doesn't want this.

We all have iPhones and Wi-Fi in the house. Her bedroom has a good Wi-Fi signal, but spotty cellular reception.

Is there a technology that she can always have on her person where she pressing a simple button and an alert appears on my wife's, my son's, and my iPhone?

1 Answer 1


Apple Watch Series 4 provides a 1st party solution for the aforementioned requirements.

You can consider an Apple Watch Series 4 or later with Cellular connectivity. Apple Watch Series 4 and later feature build-in fall detection mode that can also alert the emergency services and customizable emergency contacts. A cellular variant remains connected to the Internet even if the paired iPhone is not in the proximity.

You can refer to the Apple Support document, Use fall detection with Apple Watch to learn more:

If Apple Watch Series 4 or later detects a hard fall, it can help connect you to emergency services if needed.

If Apple Watch Series 4 or later detects a hard fall while you're wearing your watch, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert. You can choose to contact emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping "I'm OK."


If your Apple Watch detects that you're immobile for about a minute, it begins a 30-second countdown, while tapping you on the wrist and sounding an alert. The alert gets louder, so that you or someone nearby can hear it. If you don't want to call emergency services, tap Cancel. When the countdown ends, your Apple Watch automatically contacts emergency services.

The fall detection and emergency calling feature is built into Apple Watch and doesn't require you to install a separate app or get a separate subscription.

Even without a fall, Apple Watch makes it very easy to contact the emergency contacts which can be configured. Having a Cellular model gives the extra peace of mind that the Watch would have cellular connectivity even if the paired iPhone is not in range.

Since the features comes built-in from Apple, there's no data privacy concerns.

Apple Watch Series 4 and later also supports "Hey Siri".

  • I hadn't considered an Apple Watch. That's a good idea. I do worry that she wouldn't be able to work the dial, but perhaps we'll try one out. But I'm still looking for the single-button-press solution, if one exists.
    – Chuck
    May 25, 2020 at 17:12
  • @Chuck Calling from an Apple Watch could be as simple as tapping an icon. Search for Apple Watch Complications and look for Phone complication. One can also use Hey Siri to make a call. It is possible to avoid the need of working with a dial.
    – Nimesh Neema
    May 25, 2020 at 17:22

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