How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Using a Medical Alert Device
Aging is perhaps the most challenging stage of life. As we get older, we want to maintain our independence and continue enjoying our favorite activities – but age-related health concerns often complicate things. Even the simplest tasks, like taking a shower or getting dressed, can become dangerous.
And if you have aging loved ones in your life, you’re likely very worried about their safety and well-being. Accidents can happen, and they’re especially concerning when they happen to older adults who live alone. As cognitive and physical abilities begin to decline, your loved ones can struggle with their balance, processing speed, and reflexes. A single slip and fall or a missed stair step could be disastrous.
A medical alert device is the perfect solution for keeping elderly loved ones safe and connected to emergency contacts. But many seniors don’t want to use medical alert devices – and even discussing the matter with your loved ones can be challenging.
Many aging adults don’t want to face the fact that life is becoming more difficult. They don’t want to have to give up a small amount of independence, or admit that they may need more help.
But there’s truly no better security and peace of mind for potential senior injuries or emergencies than a medical alert device. Should the worst happen, medical alert devices can help your loved ones notify emergency services – and you – if they need immediate assistance. And it could save their lives.
So, how you do talk with your aging loved ones about getting and using a medical alert device? Here are a few suggestions to get the conversation started.
Let the Conversation Happen Naturally
The goal in discussing medical alert devices with seniors is to help them see how beneficial they can be. You want you loved ones to have some say in the discussion – not feel like the matter is being forced onto them, or like their independence is being taken away.
A smart way to begin the conversation about medical alert devices is to let the conversation happen naturally. You can mention the potential need for a medical alert device when it feels like there’s a natural transition, or when it’s related to another matter. For example, if your mom mentions a friend who had a dangerous fall and wound up in the hospital, or if your dad is telling a story about a friend who recently got a medical alert device of his own. You could ask your parent their thoughts about medical alert devices, and start the conversation there.
You can also begin the conversation when your loved one is facing new challenges or health concerns. For example, if a doctor recommends making their home more accessible, or they have a new health concern that might require emergency medical attention. You can mention medical alert devices as a potential solution to ensure your loved one’s safety.
Most importantly, don’t force the conversation. If your loved ones aren’t ready to calmly discuss medical alert devices, they likely aren’t ready to understand the benefits or your point of view.
Focus on the Benefits of Medical Alert Devices
Wearing a medical alert device can seem like a burden or a way to limit independence to some seniors. In order to encourage your loved ones to see medical alert devices in a positive light, you’ll want to emphasize their benefits.
While an older adult may interpret you mentioning their need for a medical alert device as you insisting they need help or cannot live independently, the opposite is actually the case. So, during your conversation, you’ll want to use positive features of medical alert devices in order to show your loved ones just how much better their lives could be with one.
The following are just a few of the benefits you can mention when discussing medical alert devices with your loved ones:
- Medical alert devices are small and unobtrusive, and they can be worn without being visible.
- In an emergency of any kind, seniors only need to push one button – and some even automatically sense falls or health emergencies.
- It can give seniors more independence, as they can continue to safely and confidently live alone.
- A medical alert device might be able to delay the need for a caretaker or daily in-home help.
- Seniors won’t have to worry about getting to a phone or even carrying a cell phone with a medical alert device, as they can reach emergency contacts any time.
- Wearing a medical alert device during an emergency can increase the chances that seniors won’t endure an injury that severely limits their independence and future.
- Medical alert devices are affordable, especially when compared to other caretaker options.
Be Prepared for Opposition – And Be Kind
Expect your loved ones to push back during the discussion about a medical alert device. They will likely have concerns, questions, and potential issues with wearing one of these devices. And, if your aging parents feel their independence may be lost, they may grow irritated, frustrated, or even angry.
However, it’s important to be kind and considerate when aging adults oppose medical alert devices. Remember, you’ll one day be in their position. You should stop and reflect on how you might feel if someone was encouraging you to begin wearing a medical alert device.
Try to be compassionate and sensitive during the conversation. Focus on their independence and personal safety, and be encouraging about just how beneficial a medical alert device can be. You can also postpone the conversation and help your loved ones do a little more research and learning if that helps understanding grow in a more kind, compassionate way.
Do Your Research Before Talking
A medical alert device can be a huge positive in a senior’s life. It can help aging adults live independently for longer, and it can give you peace of mind as it ensures your loved ones can get emergency help whenever needed.
However, the conversation you’ll have with your loved ones about getting a medical alert device can be challenging. In order to have the best possible outcome, it’s important to do your research before speaking with them. You should compare and consider different medical alert devices, looking into their reviews, features, and benefits, and check pricing. That way, you can have the most informed – and positive – conversation possible.