From 2011 to 2012, 96,385 people aged 65 and over were hospitalised after a fall-related injury. Hearing statistics like this can be extremely worrying if you have an elderly parent living alone. Personal health alarms are a simple way of providing much-needed safety, security and peace of mind for you and your parent.
As with many topics that arise during old age, the subject of personal health alarms can be a tricky one. If you think an alarm could be helpful for an elderly parent, it's important to approach the topic in a sensitive and understanding way. By taking some time to prepare, you'll make the discussion much more pleasant for everyone involved, and it's more likely that your parent will be open to your suggestions. Follow these tips to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Making sure that you're fully informed about the different types of personal health alarms and how they work will allow you to answer any questions your parent might have. Chances are that you know your parent pretty well, so try to anticipate their concerns beforehand, and be ready to respond.
Most alarms are attached to either a wristband or pendant — your parent can choose whichever they prefer, taking any mobility concerns into account. Both varieties are completely waterproof, so they can be worn at all times, including in the bath or shower. When an accident or emergency occurs, pressing the alarm button will instantly alert a nominated person. This could be you, a carer or a chosen emergency helpline. You'll want to discuss and agree upon who should be contacted in this scenario so that your parent is fully prepared.
Deciding to invest in a personal health alarm is a big decision for your parent, and it might bring up some difficult feelings. They may feel babied or patronised by the suggestion. If this is the case, try to be understanding. Show that you recognise how they feel, but emphasise the fact that a personal safety alarm is designed to increase independence, not take away from it.
Use 'I' statements to prevent your parent from becoming angry or defensive. Instead of saying, "You're so stubborn," try saying, "I'd feel reassured if you'd consider this." Remember that at the end of the day, this isn't your decision. The best you can do is calmly state your case. Even if your parent isn't convinced after the first conversation, they may well change their mind in the future as they realise how their safety could be improved.