The medical alert industry will forever be linked to the catchphrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” So, while we are living in bad TV slogan nostalgia-world let me channel the Hair Club for Men slogan which aptly describes my relationship with Vital-Link; “I’m not only the President… I’m also a client!” OK, perhaps that slogan doesn’t completely apply to me as I don’t yet need a medical alert system for myself., However I have had numerous family members that have over my thirty-seven years in the industry. So I am a customer in the same way that the loved ones of the subscriber are. The most recent of my family members to get a Vital-Link is my 83-year-old father. This was also, without a doubt, the most challenging person to “sell” on needing an alert button (and even more importantly wearing it!).
Here are a few things that I’ve learned from that experience:
My dad DID NOT want the Vital-Link at first. When my two brothers and I finally convinced him to put a Vital-Link in his home he staunchly refused to wear it. How did we get him to finally cave and wear the medic alert button we desperately wanted him to wear?
– Respect & Dignity. This was a hard one. My father is a rigid man of his time. He never had anything handed to him in his life. He was a full time plumber by the age of 14 and anything he needed done he would do it with his own hands. As expected, he immediately dismissed the idea of an alert device. At first I found it was best to yield to his life experience and treat his decision with respect and dignity. After all, if he wouldn’t wear the transmitter there was no point in him having the service.
– Brothers: I am the oldest of three brothers. All three of us worry about our father. We would voice our concerns over dad living alone respectfully but still regularly. Having siblings help ease the burden and stress over convincing my dad he needed one of these devices was a key factor in keeping my sanity. Care givers must take careful stock of their own health both physically and mentally. Lean on your loved ones to help you along this process. Your health matter too!
– A fall: As I have said over and over, my father did NOT want to wear his Vital-Link. To be honest with you, it took a minor accident in order to finally convince him. One day he slipped and fell over his beloved little Maltese Peanuts. Thankfully he wasn’t too badly injured and was able to make his way to a phone within 10 minutes or so. This fall was enough to get him to accept he may actually need one of these devices.
I wish I could say my dad wears his device 100% of the time. We still need to constantly make sure he is wearing his pendant. I also make sure to test his system whenever I am over his place (about once a month). I hope sharing a bit of my experience may aid you in getting your loved one on board with the idea of a medical alert system. Good luck in your search. We hope you pick Vital-Link, but even more so we hope your loved one gets the independence and peace of mind that a medical alarm provides.
Mark Weizer, President, A Vital-Link