How to Talk to Dad About Medical Alert Systems
Posted on June 15, 2016
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
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
When the Conversation Doesn’t Go as Planned
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
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.
We’ve put together an acronym to help you when settling down
to talk to Dad. Remember: C.A.R.E.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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