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Convincing a Parent to Wear Their Medical Alert System

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Medical alert systems are crucial in an emergency, but not all parents are immediately keen on the idea. This resistance can have a variety of roots – from thinking the system is ugly to feeling insecure about age and health. If you’re having a hard time getting dad to wear is device, you’re not alone. We have a few tips for talking to parents about wearing their pendants.

Why Mom is Resisting a Medical Alert System

When talking to a parent about wearing a medical alert system, it’s important to respect their hesitancy. There are several reasons why a parent might not want to wear a device, many of which are deeply personal. Take care to approach these conversations with patience and empathy. We’ve compiled some of the more common reasons for this resistance, as well as how to address each specific concern.

  • Appearance: We know that most emergency systems aren’t the most stylish accessories around. Some more fashion-conscious seniors, or older adults who really care about the way they look, might not like the way the pendant looks. An easy way to address this is to tuck the device into or under clothing so that it remains accessible without being seen. We’ve also heard of users adding beads or personal flair to the string necklace, which can allow for some much-needed personalization.
  • Stigma: Medical alert systems are designed to communicate a need. Even if your dad never needs to push the button, wearing the pendant is still a reminder of his age and, to a degree, his health. This can be an embarrassing experience for seniors. There is no easy fix to the stigma of old age and medical alert devices, but it’s important to have earnest conversations with parents about why they might be embarrassed. Remind them that alert systems are safety nets. No one is exempt from danger, but some have to be a little more proactive about addressing emergencies.
  • Talking to Strangers: Some seniors might be hesitant to use a device because they don’t want to speak with the operator on the other end of the line. While this might sound silly, consider your parent’s perspective: If they fall, or if they accidentally push the button, a stranger will respond. In their most vulnerable moments, the person on the other side of the line knows very little about them. We understand that this can be uncomfortable. It’s important to remind your parent that these operators are compassionate and well-trained, and that they are only there to connect seniors to the help they need.

How to Talk to Your Parent

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Talking to parents about wearing their pendants can be difficult. No matter their age, health, or perspective, you should always approach these conversations with empathy. Listen to your parent’s arguments and try to understand the root of their concern. In many cases, insecurity and self-consciousness play a big role in these decisions. 

It might also help to remind your parent that medical alert systems require a recurring cost. While our devices are priced lower than what Life Alert® costs, we know that a medical alert system is a big investment. In framing a parent’s unwillingness to wear a device as wasteful, you might be able to gain some headway in the disagreements.