Medical devices often improve your parents' and loved ones' quality of life. A fall alert necklace provides independence for them and peace of mind for you. Despite these positives, many older adults resist using medical alert devices due to shame or fear of losing their self-reliance.
As a caregiver, you want the best for your aging loved ones but may not always agree on the ideal methods for protecting their health and lifestyle. Convincing your parent or loved one to wear medical devices is possible, but the process requires a gentle and caring approach.
Starting the Conversation
Often the most challenging part of convincing a loved one to wear a medical device is bringing it up for the first time. When broaching this topic, start gently. Choose a time when both of you are calm and focused so you can have a rational conversation about the subject. Also, use careful and precise language like “I've noticed you are having more trouble with your mobility" or “Help me understand why you don't want a medical alert device.”
It can be beneficial to discover their reasons for resistance early in the conversation so you can address those concerns. Here are a few common reasons older adults may oppose such devices.
To older adults, a medical alert, like an alert necklace, might seem like a visible indicator of their disability or age. They may feel these devices shout to friends, family, and strangers that they are growing older and can no longer care for themselves. You can address this concern by showing that no one is exempt from danger. You might show them your smartwatch and explain how you and many others use it to monitor your health, similar to an alert device.
Older adults, especially those with dementia, may struggle to remember to wear the device daily. They may say that they'll change the device and forget to put it back on. You can respond to this objection by giving them grace. You can also educate them that the medical alert device will speak out loud to them when the alert needs to be charged and when the alert is fully charged and ready to be put back on. This ensures that your loved one doesn't need to remember when to charge and when it's done charging. Moreover, our medical alert devices also have long battery lives that don't require you to take your device off too frequently which mitigates the perceived hassles.
Another topic of debate is that medical devices like alert bracelets sometimes stand out against a person's wardrobe. For easy access, they must often be on display outside of clothes. If a loved one claims the devices are too ugly or bulky, explain that older devices may have been but now the devices are sleek and fashionable. Pull up the devices online and look together. You're bound to see sleek devices that work with your wardrobe. Be sure to research smaller, sleeker options to find a device they will agree to wear. Some medical alert devices even look like smartwatches, making them more subtle.
Some older adults may also resist a new medical device due to the cost. They may not have the available funds, or they hesitate to spend money on something they think won't cause significant improvements in their lives. Finances are always complex to discuss, but you may offer to cover the expense or talk with the medical alert provider first and ask about the price to show exact numbers instead of just an idea of what they cost. When doing this, explain that you see it as an investment in their health and safety, and it gives you peace of mind. Be sure to mention that the alerts can be used for all emergencies as well, not just health emergencies.
Medical Alert Device Benefits to Discuss
Beyond addressing your older loved one's concerns, you can also point to the positives the device offers. Rather than being a sign that they are getting older and need help, it's a tool to provide more freedom and enjoyment in life. Here are a few benefits you can discuss with your loved one.
Peace of Mind
For a fall detection device, avoid mentioning the device's safety. Instead, focus on how it will improve your peace of mind. Your loved one might indulge your wishes if they see your primary motivation is your peace of mind rather than their health and mobility.
Explain that a medical alert device acts as an insurance policy. It's terrific if your loved one never uses it, but if they need to call for assistance, the button is there.
Older adults might view medical alerts as an inconvenience they must take everywhere. You can address these concerns by emphasizing how the device will enable them to live with less assistance. Often, medical alert bracelets mean they can maintain independent care rather than moving to an assisted living facility.
You can also explain that in the event of a fall, a quicker emergency response means they will likely recover from injuries faster, allowing them to return to independent living sooner.
For more technically inclined older adults, explaining the capabilities of medical devices might sell them on the product. A medical alert device might also include a step counter, encouraging them to stay active.
Other Tips to Guide the Conversation
After gently bringing up a medical device, your loved one may remain opposed or hesitant to accept the change. Here are a few additional strategies you can try to convince them:
- Use facts: For a medical alert device, mention that 3 million older adults visit emergency departments for falls annually. Showing how common falls are can help your loved one see the value in wearing a device they'll use if they experience one.
- Have a device handy: Most devices are lightweight and small. Allowing a loved one to hold it in their hand can be an eye-opener.
- Call a doctor: If they refuse your advice, they might listen to a knowledgeable third party like a doctor licensed to provide medical expertise.
- Name drop: Maybe their favorite celebrity or a few of their best friends wears an alert device. Showing that other, familiar people have the same concerns can normalize the device, making them more receptive to trying it.
- Offer Customer Testimonials: Someone else's experience may be a nice motivation, especially if that person is around the same age and is experiencing something similar.
- Back off: When your loved one gets defensive or begins to argue, pause the conversation for another time. Come back when both of you are calm again, and in the meantime, take time to research and find compelling arguments that address their specific concerns.
Get an Alert Device From Medical Guardian
Medical alert devices provide caregivers with peace of mind and allow older adults to live more independently. Though the conversation may be difficult, reminding your loved one of these positives may convince them to try the device.
Medical Guardian has many alert device options, even the MGMove, which looks like a smartwatch but includes features to keep older adults safe when living on their own.