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How Do I Get Mom to Wear a Lifeline Device?

Failure to wear the device that can summon help by simply pushing a button is actually understandable.

When such a device is ordered and brought into the home it is usually a child that initiated the purchase.  Mom or Dad may agree to keep the device because your argument is sound; however, even though you are very concerned about your parent's safety, that does not necessarily translate into him or her actually wearing the device.

One reason the device might be collecting dust is that your parent may think you are overreacting to their decline, such that wearing the device is unnecessary. Even young, healthy people take a tumble now and then, i.e., tripping over something, bumping into an inanimate object, simply stepping in a sidewalk crack. It happens to all of us at times, and your parent is remembering those times.  Now what parents ignore is that their falls are more likely to result in fracture with age.  Parents who live alone may not be discovered as quickly if they were to fall, especially if they have limited responsibilities outside the home. Without appointments outside the home (where parents are expected to be somewhere at a certain time) traumatic falls may take longer to detect.

It IS possible, however, for a parent to grow comfortable with wearing the device. 

Think about the last time someone gifted you something that you did not clearly see the need for or wanted.  I liken it to kitchen utensils that people give me.  While I love great tools, until I desire the function and see a use for it, the device will remain in one of my kitchen drawers. Then one day, voila! The device makes sense to me, and I discover how wonderful it really is. This happens time and time again.  What you think is great may be a bit puzzling to others at first, and then one day it becomes crystal clear why it is such a great tool.

What usually works in this case is a good scare.  No, do not knock your mom over and walk away!  Rather, let Mom happen on a situation that underscores her risk for a fall.  Stories from friends can be helpful in getting the point across, though it is best if your mother hears about it on her own, and not through your regular reporting. Constantly nagging Mom or Dad to wear the device might not work as well as getting creative with your persuasion.

Stubborn parents sometimes need to learn on their own. One recommendation I have is to make sure the device is available, test it when you are visiting, and then go silent.  Your parent may not use it right away, but some day they may have a little scare and discover that that little device is a good idea. When that happens, it will be readily available to begin wearing.  Hopefully, no real injury occurs before she figures out the value. If numbers are more convincing, one option is to compare the costs of wearing the device to the cost of either 24/7 care or moving into a retirement community. Discuss the results with Mom. They should be quite convincing.