KENNEBUNK — A Kennebunk woman injured in a two-car accident last month, has her Apple Watch to thank for not only automatically dialing 911, but also alerting her emergency contacts, her three children, one as far away as Florida.
Dorothy “Dotty” White, 87, was involved in a collision on June 10 as she was waiting to make a left hand turn while on Route 1 near Barnard Lane, according to her son, James White of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
She suffered several broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken foot as a result of the collision. Dotty White said her son gave her an Apple Watch for Christmas one year, and she liked it so much she upgraded to a new Series 4 version, which has the fall detection feature in addition to the emergency SOS feature included on older models.
Her watch detected a “hard fall” on impact during the accident and activated the fall detection feature.
“I was sitting at my computer in Florida, and I received an alert saying the motion sensor in my mother’s watch had detected a hard fall and had automatically called emergency services,” James White said.
The Apple Watch also sent alerts to his two sisters, and he gave his sister who lives in Wells a call. She had already heard from emergency responders and her mother, and was on her way to the scene.
Dotty White said she was disoriented after the impact, and all of the sudden she heard her watch talking to her.
“That was the most amazing thing because I was in kind of a fog, and all of the sudden my watch started to talk to me. It said ‘we have you falling on Route 1 in Kennebunk and help is on the way.' It was really amazing, I didn’t know it would do that,” she said.
James White said he, too, didn’t know it would work automatically the way it did. He knew his mother could press a button on the watch and it would dial emergency services and her emergency contacts if she had a fall or needed medical attention.
"It was comforting, absolutely,” he said. “I’m sure it was comforting for her as well to know help was on the way, and we had been contacted,” he said.
While Dotty White’s accident was in a busy area with a lot of people nearby, the Apple watch service would be even more vital if she had gone off the road in a remote area, her son said.
Dotty White agrees, and she said she has told everyone she’s met about it.
“I’ve told all the doctors and nurses, so they can tell their patients. I think more seniors should have one,” she said. “I wish a lot more people had them because they would be taken care of and feel more secure.”
James White said his mother complains about technology, but she’s also quite adept with it.
“People are much more technology savvy than they think they are, and she’s no different,” he said.
She does beautiful artwork on her iPad, according to her son, and recently uploaded pictures from a wedding and sent them to him.
James White said his mother has a Series 4 Apple Watch, and all he did to enable the features was to include emergency contacts when he set it up for her. He’s comforted knowing that his mother can maintain her independence, and in addition to the safety features, Dotty has access to the health and heart monitoring features as well.
“I’ve always been a fan of Apple products, and I think this technology would be great not only for seniors, but for parents with teenage drivers as well. This could be a real benefit and add peace of mind,” James White said.