How to Talk to Dad About Medical Alert Systems

Gardening Man

Your Dad is very active, but yesterday he missed the final step at the bottom of the stairs. While he was able to catch himself on the banister and prevented a fall, you’re worried that this will happen again. Dad insists on staying in the house he’s had for 50 years, and he doesn’t want to lose his independence. Here at Alert1, we want Dad—and you—to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that he is not alone.

At Alert1, our primary concern is your loved one’s safety. We know that having a senior parent who lives alone can cause a lot of worry.

That’s why it’s important to talk to Dad about getting a medical alert system.  It’s a hard topic to bring up. Neither one of you may feel comfortable starting the conversation. We are here to provide suggestions and support to help start your medical alert system conversation.

Starting the Conversation

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Let the topic arise naturally. When Dad is describing how his friend almost broke his arm during a fall, ask if his friend had a medical alert device. Follow up with asking him what he thinks about medical alert systems. You’ll be able to get an honest answer from him without any added pressure. Assess if medical alert systems are something Dad is interested in.

Give Dad a chance to share his opinion on medical alert systems before you offer your own. Chances are you have similar thoughts and concerns. If he asks you what you think, give him an honest answer.

Once the topic comes up, offer to help Dad research medical alert companies, or schedule a time to talk to his doctor for a third party opinion.

When the Conversation Doesn’t Go as Planned

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What happens if your Dad has a negative reaction to the thought of a medical alert system?

Dad may say things such as, “I don’t need that” or “What a waste of money”. Those thoughts are indications of deeper feelings of fear, resentment, and distrust. Dad may believe he doesn’t need a medical alert system, or doesn’t want the stigma associated with having one. If this is the case, don’t tell him that he must "get a medical alert system or else".

Instead, explain to Dad how a medical alert would give you peace of mind. He might not admit to wearing the device for himself, but will gladly tell everyone that it keeps you feeling safe.

If Dad’s health is at risk, you may want approach his doctor and ask them to talk to Dad about medical alert systems.  Dad’s doctors will have their own views to share based on his medical record and may strongly agree that it’s time for a medical alert system.

Have your Dad ask his friends about their medical alert systems. Dad may just be keeping up with the times by joining his friends who are already wearing medical alert devices. 


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We’ve put together an acronym to help you when settling down to talk to Dad. Remember: C.A.R.E.

  1. C: Compassion. When talking to Dad, have compassion towards the situation. Understand that it’s about making him feel comfortable with the decisions that he is making about his health and safety. 
  2. A: Answer. Be ready to answer any and all questions he has, as gently and honestly as you can. The more upfront you are with him about how you feel, the easier it will be to have an effective conversation.
  3. R: Respect. Even if Dad makes the decision to not have a medical alert system, know that it is his decision to make. Even if you don’t agree with his choice, respect his decision and know you can always bring the conversation up again.
  4. E: Evaluate. Continue to evaluate the situation. Don’t live in the area? Communicate with Dad’s doctor and friends and ask them to check in on him.

Continuing the Conversation

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It may be scary for Dad to start using a medical alert system. Let him know that you’re here to support him. Understand that it’s not about making him follow what you believe is right. Your job is to understand his goals and fears. Help him make the decision on his own.

If Dad is worried about a loss of independence, there are plenty of mobile medical alert systems, such as Alert1’s PAX system that will travel with him wherever he goes. Let Dad know that a medical alert system will not slow him down or confine him to the house.  A mobile medical alert system will enable him to move confidently forward with his life, while you both remain safe in the knowledge that he has constant protection wherever he goes. And it never hurts to show him you've done your research on Life Alert costs and can save him money with Alert1.