Will your family member actually use their medical alert?

Bay Alarm Medical

December 16, 2022

I did all the research. I picked out the best medical alert system for Mom. I set it up for her, and I’m even paying for it. But she refuses to wear it. What should I do?” Visit any online caregiver forum, and you’ll find some version of this question. Maybe you’ve asked it yourself!

It really doesn’t matter how much time or money you invest in a medical alert system for a loved one if they won’t wear it. Here are some reasons why your loved one may reject a medical alert system – and some strategies you can use to help them change their mind.

Concern About Looking “Old” and/or Helpless

hand holding elderly person's hand holding a cane

Teenagers are the only age group who actively try to look older than their years. In our youth-obsessed culture, it’s a compliment when someone tells you how young you look. So, for many seniors, a medical alert pendant or wristband might as well be a big, flashing “OLD PERSON” sign.  They don’t feel old and don’t want to look old.

Discussion: Suggest a medical alert pendant that will double as a stylish necklace. With Bella Charms,  there’s no need to sacrifice style for safety.  A medical alert smartwatch looks like a fitness tracker wristband – and people of all ages wear those. Many also include a step counter, heart rate monitor, and other apps.

Neighbors are Nearby to Help in an Emergency

elderly woman in kitchen looking out of the window

The vast majority of seniors want to age in place in their own homes and stay in communities and neighborhoods where they have strong social networks. Your family member knows they can rely on friends to help if needed.

Discussion: Friends and neighbors are important, but they aren’t on call 24/7, and they only know that you need help if you ask or they see you in trouble. What happens if you fall in the shower or a burglar breaks in? Nobody will know you need help – unless you have a button you can press to summon help immediately in an emergency.

They’re Healthy and Don’t Need One

elderly man stretching outside by the lake

“I’ll get one when I need one!” is a common retort when a family member broaches the idea of a medical alert system. Your loved one just doesn’t understand why they should have to wear something that they don’t need – yet. They’ll get one later, they tell you. The problem is, “later” may be too late.

Discussion: Anybody can fall at any time: it’s the most common injury that sends Americans visit emergency rooms each year – over 8.6 million visits in 2017. Senior falls are particularly dangerous, and most happen at home where we feel comfortable and safe.

Go though the house with your relative to identify ways to make their home safer for aging in place. Talk about the importance of home safety and explain how a medical alert system with fall detection can help them keep their independence.

If they’re strongly opposed to a medical alert wearable, consider a voice-enabled medical alert system that eliminates the need for a lanyard or wristband.  GetSafe offers high-end systems with voice-activated wall buttons.  Get help by pressing a wall button or by saying  “call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1” to activate two-way communication the call center.

Loss of Control

young female caregiver showing elderly man tablet

The transition from being a caregiver to someone needing care is a rough one, and it often causes anger and resentment. If your parent feels like they’re being told what to do, they’re likely to resist – often quite adamantly.

Discussion: If this becomes a power struggle between you and your parents, you’re both going to lose.  Depending on your family dynamics, a neutral third party – a doctor or even a friend who already has a medical alert system – might be the best person to explain that a medical alert device isn’t about loss of control. It’s actually a sign that someone is proactively taking steps to protect their own health and safety.

  • Show how a medical alert can help them stay independent and age in place because they can get help quickly in an emergency.
  • Explain that family members worry about them living alone, and a medical alert system gives everyone more peace of mind.
  • Demonstrate how easy the systems are to set-up and use. Watch videos about how medical alert systems work.
  • Discuss the high cost of hospital care and/or assisted living compared to relatively low monthly monitoring fees for medical alert systems.
  • Highlight how medical alerts aren’t just for medical emergencies. You can use them to call for help in all kinds of emergencies even if you can’t get to a phone.

Do you want to learn more about home medical alerts and discuss which systems might be right for you or your loved ones?  Call us at 877-522-9633 or chat with one of our representatives online via the Bay Alarm Medical Web site.

All our medical alert systems have a risk-free 30-day trial period – just in case.


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