Speaking to Mom or Dad About a Medical Alert Device

Top10.com Staff
Buying a medical alert device for your parent
Although aging is a part of life, getting older can be a challenging period. As our cognitive and physical abilities begin to decline, we can find surprising changes in the most unlikely of everyday tasks from difficulty multitasking, to visual disturbances. There might be differences in balance, slower processing speeds and delayed reflexes.

As a child to an aging parent you’ll naturally be concerned about mom or dad’s safety and ability to lead a fully independent life. And to add to the challenge, many elderly people don’t want to talk about or face these facts. 

A medical alert device is an effective method to ensure that if something should happen, they’ll have a convenient way to alert you and/or the emergency services. However, suggesting to an elderly person that they should get a medical alert device can be a tricky feat. There will likely be a knee-jerk opposition, claiming it’s not something they need. It’s therefore important to approach the conversation in a soft and sensitive manner, and bring up the many advantages of a medical alert device.

Argue the Case for a Medical Alert Device

The ideal living situation for aging parents or anyone elderly is to have a partner to support them through this difficult period. However, often individuals are left living alone and potentially vulnerable. It’s natural that family and friends will be concerned and want to put a safety net in place for emergency situations. A medical alert device is a small and hardly detectable resource that elderly people can carry around with them. With a button to push or a sensor that can detect a fall, a GPS will be automatically activated and appropriate emergency services will be able to locate your loved one.

When talking to an elderly person about a medical device, they might immediately interpret this as you telling them they need help, or doubting they can live an independent life. In fact, the opposite is true — home medical alert systems are actually an effective way for an elderly person to maintain his/her independence. Instead of having a carer move in, or indeed moving to a care home, a medical device could be all it takes to ensure an individual's safety. Another important point to mention is that if anything should happen and they are wearing their alert device, they’ll be able to access emergency help quickly. This gives them a higher chance of eventually getting back into an independent living situation. Medical alert devices are discreet and can be worn around the neck like a necklace (which fits nicely under a shirt), or clipped onto a belt —nobody will know they are wearing it. They are waterproof and don’t interfere with pacemakers. It’s also extremely affordable and can cost as little as $10 monthly—with companies such as Medical Guardian, so this simple and effective device won’t be breaking anybody’s bank account.

How to Approach the Subject with Your Loved One

So you’re ready to bring up the subject of a medical system device, but not sure how the other person will take it? After all, the topic of safety and the future can be a scary conversation for both sides.

Let the Conversation Arise Naturally

There’s no need to create an intervention, or even bring it up the topic straight away. Let the conversation arise naturally, and if it doesn’t happen the first time around, wait until a suitable occasion when you and your loved one are in the right frame of mind. Once you do approach the subject, be sure to listen — even if there is some initial protesting from the other side. When your parent or loved one feels they are being listened to, they’ll be more likely to take on board your point of view. It’s natural for an elderly individual to get a little upset the first time something new is discussed. What’s important to keep reminding them is about the obvious benefits they can gain from a medical alert device.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Growing old is inevitable and each one of us will be in same position one day. It’s important we all put ourselves in the shoes of the elderly and reflect on how difficult it must be for them. We must be compassionate, empathetic and respectful when we talk to them— especially about the sensitive topic of their independence and potential safety. Be prepared that your conversation might not necessarily go to plan, but don’t get impatient. Speak softly and calmly and show you genuinely care about their safety. As long as you don’t approach the subject from an threatening angle, your parent or loved one won’t get agitated.

Comfortable and Easy-to-Hide Devices

If your loved one is concerned about the device showing, there are a number of devices that can be hidden. With stylish medical alert bracelets and necklaces available, there's plenty of choice. 

Make the Right Choice for Your Loved One

You’re convinced that a medical alert device will considerably raise the standard of living of your parent or loved one. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be on the same page. It’s important to make no assumptions and to introduce the subject sensitively, all while understanding their hesitancy. Meanwhile, the most useful thing for you to do is thoroughly research the topic and the various devices on offer. So when it finally comes down to talking about the subject, you’ll be ready for their arguments and be able to alleviate their concerns.

Top10.com Staff
Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors, writers and experts with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.