Apple Watch for Elderly Parent

I was watching Undecided with Matt Ferrell and he mentioned he bought Apple Watches for his parents so that they could call for help if they’d fallen or needed immediate assistance.

My mother getting older and has aged beyond the chronological years since my father passed in 2022. She is all in on the Apple ecosystem due to me. She has an iPhone 8 (but we’re looking to get her something new, even possibly me as some places have a 2 for 1 deal, I have an 8+), a 2020 iPad Pro, and a 2014 iMac running Monterey through OCLP (she mostly lives on the iPhone and the iPad, and rarely uses the Mac).

Can anyone attest to whether this would actually be a positive addition, or would it just complicate matters? I’m imagining a situation where her phone is too far away, either in a different room, or even just a few feet but out of reach.

Hi Kionon,

I recently gifted my 80 y.o. father an Apple Watch for similar reasons. It was largely for my peace of mind, but also as he has complained of heart palpitations and poor sleep and I thought the data gathered on Apple Health would be useful for both of us.

I have set up health data sharing and emergency contact details for fall detection etc.

I purchased him a series 7, as that is the minimum for some of the features I wanted, but then had to upgrade his phone as well as the watch was running WatchOS 10 and was too modern to pair with his iPhone 8.

So he ended up with an Apple Watch Series 7 and and Gen 2 iPhone SE which he was quite happy about.

I didn’t try to sell him on any of the features or try and show him how to do everything, rather, just told him how it was useful, and where he could find the data it collected.

So far so good for us. Hope that helps!


Well excuuuuuuuuse me, Linkawesome… (I used to watch that show as a kid, as an American, I am mildly surprised it got shown in Straya, unless you too are an American/Canadian).

That was actually incredibly helpful, and since we were already discussing a new iPhone anyway, it sounds like something to suggest when we go out for the phones next time I am in the US.

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It’s interesting that you have brought this up. There is a lad (when I say lad, he is in his mid 40’s) who is a member of a club I am in. He has a number of disabilities & his mother, who I think is well into her 70’s, is his carer although he is pretty high functioning. Another member normally brings him to meetings but he is away so his mother dropped him off and picked him up last Saturday. I just happened to talk to her briefly at the end of the meeting. She was flashing around her new Apple Watch so I asked her about it. She got it recently rather than one of those medical alarms specifically because you don’t have to press a button (and it looks a lot better). Also, which surprised me a bit, it was actually cheaper. Anyway, to cut a long story short, a couple of weeks ago she tripped and fell in the garden and hit her head. She didn’t knock herself completely unconscious but was severely dazed. Probably too dazed to find an alarm and press the button. So the watch contacted her son who was able to get her help quickly and she made a good recovery. I would never have thought of getting an Apple Watch just for this reason.


Sounds like it’s apparently a thing. The money is absolutely nothing compared to the peace of mind, assuming it works (which it sounds like it does).

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I have various health problems and I’ve used a pulse oximeter and single channel ecg for years, but my new watch 9 is just so much more convenient.

Highly recommended

Yep, loved the Super Mario Brothers Super Show. Definitely showed here after school!

We ended up with the SE2 as the idea of trying to get him a phone without a home button just would’ve been too hard. He struggles enough with a touch screen as it is.

Good luck with a purchase!

DO THE MARIO! …that is hilarious. It’s so overtly American.

I’m half your father’s age and struggle without a home button! I hate the slide up nonsense, and have it turned off on my Android too, where there is a haptic engine under the back home and window buttons. I don’t think iOS has that, so I bet my mother and I would both end up with SE2s.

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SE3 still has one too!

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I love my watch for its safety features. I had a rather bad fall about 4 months ago (I’m 74) and the watch fired up and wanted to contact emergency services and my emergency contacts. The problem was that i don’t have a cellular watch version… only wifi/bt. and it was too far from my phone (for BT connection) and from the router (for wifi) and so nothing happened. I wasnt unconscious but did not want to move so I was a tad p’d off that I had to get myself up off the driveway without assistance (it was early am and nobody was about in the street). Arthritis has restricted me in ways I never dreamed it would… I’m glad I have the watch but I now carry my phone at all times, too. oh yeah I have an SE2.

Got an Apple Watch for my Nonno a few years ago. He does love it, but doesn’t always wear a watch around the house so it doesn’t get used quite as much as I’d hope.

Health data sharing between him, mum, my aunt and myself means we can keep tabs on some of his stats over time and get alerts when things change.

I’d say go for it. If the person is keen on the tech/happy to wear or use it, then it’s a benefit. Even if it’s just to wear and use as a normal watch. As a side, he’s perfectly able to operate his iPhone/iPad so it’s an easy transition.

Now for my dad’s parents, I’d say no because they struggle to use a normal TV remote short of on/off, ch+/ch- and volume. They have a VCR/DVD player but it’s too hard for them to use so it’s just collecting dust. I’m also going to have to get my hands on an iPhone with the home button if something goes wrong with theirs too… There’s no way I’d be able to get them used to swipe up to unlock.

Helpful, thanks.

I would put mother in the category of your Nonno. I would hazard to guess I am older than you by a bit, as my grandparents would all be over 100 at this point, and all have been gone for a long time. No problem with iPad, iPhone, or even macOS. Watch would be pretty easy for her to operate.

Yeah you might be right there… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Put it this way, I’m about as old as a Macintosh IIsi…

This reply is a bit late but are you aware you can put a floating home button on your iPhone if you have a later model without that feature? Here’s one link:

I did it for convenience.
Hope that helps.

Thanks! I did know you can do this - I’ve worked as an Apple Tech at AASP’s for 10 years - the amount of people who had a busted home button and didn’t want to pay for a replacement part when they found out it wasn’t covered by warranty…

Unfortunately this isn’t a solution for my Dads parents - they simply don’t understand technology enough to be able to handle it. The fact that they’re using the iPhone in the first place is amazing, but they still struggle with very simple things with it. Plus, just trying to get them to orientate the phone the right way would be hard enough :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: