What to Do When Parents Resist Using Medical Alert Devices
When you realize that your parents are no longer as safe and spry as they once were you face a difficult decision and a difficult conversation. No one wants to be reminded of their own age and mortality. Addressing weakness or an inability to care for oneself can be difficult for those who are getting older and it’s a sensitive issue for you, as the child, to bring up. Once you bring it up it’s a whole other challenge to get parents to make themselves safer. Medical alert devices are a great solution for aging parents who want to remain independent and aren’t ready for a nursing home or retirement community but still need the extra safety that comes alongside having someone “there” at all times.
But what do you do when a parent resists a medical alert device? We want to help. Keep reading for our tips on helping your parent.
Identify Why They’re Resisting Medical Alert Devices
Parents can be stubborn but it’s likely that they have a good reason for rejecting the suggestion to get a medical alert device.
Part of the process of getting your parents to use these devices is figuring out that reasoning so you can work with it and encourage your parents based on their needs and misperceptions.
Here are a few common reasons that parents might be disinclined to follow your advice.
They Actually Don’t Need It
We’re going to get this one out of the way first. It’s possible that you’re wrong about your parents needing a medical alert device right now. It’s in our nature as children to worry and fuss over our aging parents, but, as some people say, 70 is the new 50.
A healthy and able-bodied adult might not need a medical alert bracelet yet, and that’s okay. If you don’t live nearby it’s fine to make the suggestion, but try to identify your parents’ strengths and weaknesses when they object. Are they right?
Pride: They Think They Don’t Need It
Once we hit adulthood, we’re all older than we feel. Your parents might still feel like spring chickens despite any illnesses or falls that they may have suffered. They’re not old yet, right? How could they be?
When you know that your parents have been injured, confused, or ill (to the point of needing help), you need to break through this barrier.
They’re “Not Old Enough”
Commercials in the early to mid-2000s have led many older adults to believe that medical alert devices are for people who are very elderly or frail. Your parents may not have a hard time getting around the house and they may not feel elderly yet. They might still be in the “young” part of older age.
This stereotype is a harmful result of those commercials. Anyone can fall and get hurt, and older adults are more at risk than younger ones. In 2013 alone, nearly 60% of older Canadian adults (from a sample of 1,000) sustained a fall injury.
Talk About Your Anxieties
Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to talk about it. The best way to start pulling at the heartstrings of your parents is by making it a “me” conversation, not a “you” conversation.
In context, this means is that you’re not telling someone what they need or how they should feel. You’re not responsible for your parents’ feelings.
Instead, try explaining your anxieties about the situation. How do you feel, and why? What is it about your parents that gives you enough anxiety to suggest medical alert devices?
Your parents might not have realized how this is affecting you. They may have thought that you’re imposing something onto them rather than trying to soothe your own worries or make your own life easier.
Cater to Their Pride
If pride is the issue the previous tip might work. If it doesn’t, you can work towards catering to this pride.
Give examples of people their own age and health status who are opting to get medical alert devices. It can also be useful to suggest that even younger adults (or even children) can benefit from a medical alert device if they have a medical condition.
Helping your parents understand that wearing a medical alert device doesn’t make them weak can encourage them to utilize one.
Be Honest and Realistic
Sometimes your parents just need a harsh dose of reality to convince them that it’s time to invest in an emergency alert system.
What is it that gave you that feeling in the first place?
Are your parents sick, or do they have an underlying medical condition that puts them at risk for falls, heart attacks, or overall confusion? Are you worried about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia?
Is there a family history of these problems that leads you to believe that it’s time to be proactive?
Some parents even have bad falls and still refuse to get an emergency alert device. If your parents are in that category this is easier.
If your parent lives alone (without any family members, friends, partners, or spouses)you can talk about the risks of living alone regardless of age. People suffer break-ins, burns, or unexpected medical events all the time. This is a great time to pull out some statistics.
You Can’t Force Your Parents to do Anything
You shouldn’t try to force your parents into wearing medical alert devices. That can make them more stubborn and resistant to your attempts.
Instead, try reasoning with them. They’re still your parents and they probably want what’s in your best interest. If that means quelling your anxieties by buying a medical alert device, it may mean that they give in.
Help them understand why you’re so concerned and they might meet you halfway.
To get the best medical alert devices and solutions that money can buy, or to learn more about senior health, visit our site. We want to keep you and your family safe.