Mom and Dad Won't Use Their PERS Devices. Here's What To Do:
Many seniors are often objectively against using and wearing medical alert devices or personal emergency response systems. A lot of the problem has to do with feelings of anxiety. If your loved one is expressing that they don't want to wear a PERS device, here are a few points you can use to make your argument for them to wear and use it. Remember, PERS devices are a lot like sweaters. It's better to have one and not use it than to need one and not have it handy.
Some reasons seniors avoid PERS devices or stop using them entirely:
There are many reasons your loved one may object to a PERS device. Whether they feel silly wearing one or they're just worried about the aftermath of an accident with emergency responders, it's critical to make sure your loved one uses the device. If your loved one uses any of these points in their argument, you can use these PERS facts to alleviate their fears.
Medical alert devices aren't stylish or look bulky
Many seniors avoid PERS devices because they don't want to look old. However, after a bit of shopping, you'll find that there are hundreds of options available. You can get stylish medical alert devices that look like ordinary watches and pretty pendant necklaces.
PERS devices make the wearer feel dependent on others
Having a PERS device often makes older people feel like they're losing their freedom and independence. However, medical alert devices are precautionary and actually allow seniors to safely age in place and live independently for longer than ever before. Be sure to remind your loved ones that everyone needs a little help sometimes, and it's nothing to be ashamed of.
The devices aren't always easy to operate
Some devices, like the Jitterbug phone, for example, are confusing to operate in later stages of forgetfulness. Some seniors forget how to answer the device or make a call. However, most PERS devices use a single button to place calls.
You can accidentally call for help when you don't mean to
Some devices are too sensitive and may trigger an emergency response without an actual emergency. For example, some seniors worry that the button is too sensitive and can accidentally be pushed while getting in or out of bed or during sleep. Then, before they know it, emergency responders and EMTs have kicked the front door down to rescue them. This is actually a rational fear, so if you're shopping, be sure to look for devices with two-way voice communication. Two-Way voice ensures that your loved one can communicate with emergency responders or loved ones like you. All of LogicMark's devices are equipped with two-way voice directly from the pendant. Our rigid designs are also far less likely to be pressed unintentionally.
They fear that emergency responders may damage property or let pets escape
With devices that only call 911, your loved one may be worried about the act of actually getting help in an emergency. The responders' goal is to get in the house as quickly as possible to save lives. They may force the door or get in through a window and leave it ajar as they assist your loved one. Some seniors will avoid pushing the button after an emergency to this fear alone. However, if you use a medical alert device or personal emergency response system, you can leave information about what to do in an emergency with the central station. You can give them all the information they need to enter the home safely, such as the lockbox number, garage door code, or the first entry number. You can also notify them of any pets on the premises to keep everyone safe. LogicMark encourages the use of lockboxes around the front door that contain the keys and leaving the code with the central station. This prevents property damage and ensures that emergency responders can help in an emergency efficiently.
They overestimate their ability to get to a phone after a fall or other accident
If you have a stubborn loved one, odds are they argue using a PERS device and claim they'll just crawl to a phone after an accident. However, injuries vary in degree from person to person, and falling a certain way can render the body completely useless. Some accidents, such as a heart attack or stroke, can leave a person on the floor alone for hours without being able to move. It's best to look at the worst-case scenario and always keep one handy. If your loved one doesn't want to wear the device, our Emergency Wall Communicators can be mounted in high-risk areas of the home (like the staircase or bathroom) so that if they end up on the floor without a phone or medical alert device they don't have to move much to call for help. Best of all, Emergency Wall Communicators can be pressed easily with an elbow, a forehead, or even a tongue!
Medical alert devices include a monthly fee or contract agreement
While some devices charge a monthly service fee, there are a ton of non-monitored options available that call friends and family as well as 911. With devices like this, all you have to do is pay the one-time equipment fee, and you can use the device as much as you want with no contracts or hidden fees. We suggest our FreedomAlert system, which has no monthly fee or commitment. It can call up to 4 personal contacts as well as 911 and can support up to 4 pendants or Emergency Wall Communicators. All you need is a landline!
They don't want to pay for an extra phone line
If finances create stress for your loved one, they may have trouble justifying paying for a phone line they won't use very much. However, the $12-$15 extra you spend each month on the extra line is nothing compared to emergency medical bills. If your loved one fell and couldn't call for help promptly, you'd end up paying more to treat your loved one for dehydration as well as any other complications caused by the injury. Think about that extra phone line as a necessary expense to prevent higher costs in the future!
It's hard to keep track of a small device and remember to wear it every day
While most PERS devices are made small to be discreet, larger options are also available. Most seniors take their medical alert device off for the day and leave it on their nightstand when they go to bed. The problem with taking the device off is that it's easy to forget putting it back on. PERS devices only work when they're on your loved one, so making sure they're wearing it is crucial. If you're picking a new device, choose something that also doubles up as a wrist-watch that they don't have to take off. Additionally, you can mount Emergency Wall Communicators in high-risk areas if your loved one becomes increasingly forgetful about wearing the device.
They want to avoid a trip to the hospital or making a fuss for loved ones and caretakers
A study conducted by the AARP showed that even in the event of an emergency, some elderly people won't push the button on their device to call for help. This is mainly out of embarrassment and not wanting to bother friends or family. You must communicate with your loved ones about how important their safety is to you and encourage them to use their PERS device no matter what happens. Some devices can only call 911, leaving your loved one to determine on their own whether or not they need to go to the hospital. Most of the time, given a choice, they'll choose to avoid the hospital. We always suggest using a device that communicates with friends, family, and other caretakers as well as emergency responders so that you can go to your loved one's aid instead of sending emergency responders to take them to the hospital via ambulance. Devices like these are easier to convince seniors to use since they're more personal and don't always have to result in a trip to the hospital or a full disruption of life. Encourage them to push that button and call YOU for help, and be patient and understanding with them when you do. Getting older is very difficult, and it requires a lot of patience, support, and empathy, so be sure to be understanding when you answer. Don't ever get short with them or discourage them from using it!
They don't think they need one yet
Your loved one may feel strong, steady, and secure without a PERS device in the present, but they don't often consider how insecure or unstable they'll feel in the future. The truth is that everyone can benefit from a PERS device. I'm in my twenties, but I take my Notifi911+ with me whenever I go hiking. I'm healthy and surefooted, but all it takes is some loose gravel, and I've slipped down a cliff face with no way to call for help. I just keep the device in my purse or backpack or on the lanyard with my keys, and I feel safe and secure. Even if your loved one is still driving around and doing things on their own, it's a good idea just to keep one handy. Safety first!
How to Convince Your Loved Ones to Use Their PERS Devices
In January, we wrote an article about convincing loved ones to use PERS devices. In that article, we touched on a few simple ways to encourage seniors to use medical alert devices. However, the best thing to take away from the article is that all you can do is hear them out.
A personal emergency response system is critical for safe, independent aging, but that doesn't mean anything if your loved one feels embarrassed or sad about having to use one. Now is the time to have that heart to heart with mom and dad where you let them know that you love them and will hear their concerns, but still require them to use their device. There are hundreds of resources available to help them come to terms with aging and keeping their mental health in check if depression is a key contributor to not wanting to use the device.
Ultimately, the best you can do is hear them out whenever possible, and do your best to come to a compromise on using PERS devices. Perhaps instead of wearing a device, they promise to keep one handy and utilize mounted Emergency Wall Communicators alternatively. Compromise is vital because even some peace of mind and safety is better than none at all. If you're still having trouble getting them to budge, you can use some of the facts below to support your argument:
Shocking Facts About Seniors and PERS Devices to Use in Your Argument
People with PERS devices can continue living in their own homes outside of a retirement home an additional six years longer than those without one.
One in every three Americans over the age of 65 will fall each year, and less than half of them will tell anyone that it happened.
One in five falls will cause a severe head injury or broken bone.
Deaths from falls among adults age 65 and older have increased dramatically, from 18,000 to 30,000 per year according to the AARP.
Deaths from unintentional injuries are the seventh leading cause of death among older adults, according to the AARP.
Falls account for the most significant percentage of those deaths, according to the AARP.