How to Talk to Your Parent About a Medical Alarm

Having a conversation with your parent should be a productive, positive experience.

This can be a tricky conversation to have, because the last thing that you want to do is offend them. So, here are some tips to start the conversation with your parents about getting a medical alarm. 

Consider your Approach & Let Go of Authority 

Most of the success will come not from what you say, but how you say it. Keep your message simple, and rather than driving the conversation with your concerns and feelings, ask mom or dad what their concerns are. And make sure you actually listen. If you have siblings or  other relatives who would like to be a part of the decision, be sure to involve them early on in your plans and conversations. Discussing your parents’ future is a family affair, and everyone needs to be a part of the planning process. You want to be sure that they are heard, understood, and feel like they are still in full control of their own independence.  When it comes down to it, parents don’t want to feel like their adult children or relatives are trying to parent them, so it is important that you remain calm and open minded. Your parents know that you only want the best for them, so respect and truly listen to their perspective and you will both be happier. 

Use Supportive Language & Remain Calm 

Try using words and phrases that indicate you are on the same side as your parent, that you don’t want the conversation to be an argument. Phrases like “we” and “this is for us” help reinforce that idea. You can also talk about the topic from the perspective of planning for future and just being prepared. If they are concerned about the stigmas that sometimes exist with monitoring services, or feel that it is a decision that can be postponed, reminding them that “this is just a backup plan” or “this is just in case you need something when you’re home alone” are good phrases to use. The best thing to do is to keep the conversation focused on your relationship with them and their unique situation, in order to help them maintain an objective view without them getting distracted. Avoid phrases that draw comparisons between your parents and yourself or other relatives and friends. It may make your loved one feel that they are being compared to someone in a different state of health, age group, or other broad category. Don’t make the conversation about how much they are “aging” or getting “older,” but instead to stay focused on the fact that it is just a safety measure for when they’re alone, rather than a symptom of their age. Don’t single them out by using “you” or commanding phrases like “you need this” or “you have to.” That type of language creates tension between parties when the focus should be on finding a solution that works for the whole family. Steer clear of talking about mom or dad’s limitations with phrases like “you can’t”. Chances are your parent is acutely aware of this and bringing it up could just cause more stress or embarrassment. 

Do Your Research It is a good idea to do some investigating before talking with your relatives or parents about medical alarms. If you have ready answers for their questions, the conversation will go much smoother. Here are some potential questions you might hear, and some answers you might try. Is it ugly? Interchangeable pendant cases transform the look to be more stylish and match what you’re wearing, but the button is also small and light enough that you can wear it under your clothing and no one would ever know. 

Will people know? Who does it call? The service is discreet and only the people you want notified will know. If you wear the button underneath your clothing, no one will even know that you have it on. Also, in an emergency, you control who is called and notified, so no ambulance calls or notifying the neighbors unless that’s what you want. 

What if I press it accidentally? No ambulance or emergency responders will be called. All that you’ll have to do is let them know you’re okay and it’s like the call never happened. 

I’m not ready for this yet. It’s about what you’ll do when you’re alone, not your age. Think of it like an insurance policy – you never plan an accident, but when it happens you’ll be happy you have something in place.