So You Bought A Medical Alert System, But Mom Won’t Wear it!

Advice For Caregivers

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So you spent some time on our website gathering information and learning about medical alert systems and how they operate, and finally decided that a medical alert system is a great option for your loved one.  You placed your order, got things prepared around the home (see our checklist for ideas), and before you know it, your system arrived!

“This is gonna be great!” you figured.  “Mom and I both will feel more confident and secure.”  So you spent a few minutes reviewing the information, connecting the system (see our basic set-up guide for an overview), running some basic tests, and explaining things to mom.  She says she understands, but she’s fiddling a little with the medical alert button like you used to do with your fork when you didn’t want to eat your peas!  You figure it’s best to give her some time and she’ll warm-up to the idea of it.

You come by the next day to check-up on her to find that the medical alert button is placed on the kitchen table right where you saw it last evening.  “Hey Mom, have you been wearing the new medical alert button at all?”  You mom smiles and looks at the button on the table and says, “oh, a little.  It was bothering my neck, so I took it off.”  You’re not completely buying it, but again, you feel you should give mom a little time.  She”ll come around.

Before you know it, the more you look for the medical alert button, the more difficult it becomes to find!  After a month of excuses and spending 10 minutes looking around the home, you find it in the nightstand drawer right next to mom’s bed.  Not the worst possible place (better than the junk drawer in the kitchen) but the console with the large emergency button is sitting on top of the nightstand.  No real need for the medical alert button in this drawer.  Mom said the button would be easier to reach at night, and simply forgot to put it on this morning.  It’s now 5:00 PM.

That’s it. You’ve given her plenty of time, and now she isn’t even trying to get used to the idea of a medical alert system.  What should you do?  You know it’s the best thing for her.  You can’t possibly spend more time there than you already do.  I mean, you have your own life to live, right?  Now you feel guilty.  If mom would simply wear the medical alert button, she’ll have more confidence living alone at home, and you’ll have more comfort knowing that help is literally a push of a button away.

Lets think about the situation a bit. Put yourself in her shoes for a moment.  Mom’s has always been independent and the one caring for everyone else.  She rarely complains even when she may not be feeling her best.  She’s always been the caregiver, but now you’re the caregiver.  She doesn’t want to be told what to do, especially from her child.  I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, but lets not forget basic human nature.  In her eyes, she takes care of you, you don’t take care of her.

So the answer is really very simple and right in front of you.  Mom needs to decide that this system is the right decision for her and her situation.  You have to stop telling her what to do, and start painting a picture of what the benefits are to her (see our article here for more ideas), and also some negative impacts if she doesn’t, so that she’ll draw her own conclusions and be more receptive to the idea.

Don’t give up! You truly can not get more safety and security for the money.