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Apple Watch comes to rescue for 81-year-old man just weeks after he bought it

Apple has been pushing the health-detection features of the Apple Watch pretty hard for years, and for one 81-year-old man, they may have just saved him from a precarious situation. There is a laundry list of health sensors packed into Apple Watches — from things like blood oxygen monitors to atrial fibrillation detection — but it was the fall-detection feature that was able to help a Minnesotan last month.

On October 22, Dennis Nikolai went to change the oil in his snow blower before winter rolls around, but in doing so, slipped in his chair and fell onto his driveway. The 81-year-old usually walks with a cane (according to local news outlet Kare 11) and wasn’t able to get up on his own without it. With his family not around and his phone out of reach, there were seemingly no options on how to get help — until his recently purchased Apple Watch turned on saying that it detected a potential fall and asked if he needed assistance.

Man wearing the Apple Watch SE 2 and typing on a MacBook.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

After saying “yes,” the watch called 911 andNikolai was connected to a dispatcher for a local sheriff’s office. Luckily, he wasn’t injured, so all he needed was help getting back up — which was provided by a police officer who was nearby. Although Nikolai admits that he wasn’t ever in much serious danger, the Apple Watch’s fall detection worked exactly as marketed and, should he have been injured, it could have saved his life.

Fall detection has been a feature on Apple Watches since the Series 4, and stories like this show why it’s so important to include it in every model. As technology gets more advanced, Apple Watches have been outfitted to detect even more potential accidents. The Apple Watch Series 8‘s crash detection is a notable new addition, and it has already saved the life of at least one person so far.

There are a lot of health features for Apple Watch owners to take advantage of that have proven themselves to be more than simple gimmicks. The SpO2 sensor, for example, was recently found to be just as accurate as medical-grade devices. When tallying up all of the cases where Apple Watches have been helpful for people in crises — from potentially fatal incidents to less dangerous but still serious accidents like Nikolai’s fall — it’s easy to see just how essential the features are.

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Peter Hunt Szpytek
A podcast host and journalist, Peter covers mobile news with Digital Trends and gaming news, reviews, and guides for sites…
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