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How to talk to Mum or Dad about getting a personal alarm

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you talk to your elderly loved ones about the benefits of having a personal alarm.

January 02, 2024

Getting a personal alarm for elderly parents

As your parents get older, it's natural to worry about their safety. Whilst you know they would like to remain independent for as long as possible, you may have concerns about what they would do in the event of an accident or fall if no one was there to help them.

There are solutions such as personal alarms or in-home monitoring that could offer you both peace of mind that help is always available, but bringing up this topic with your parent could be tricky.

Even if your parent is fiercely independent and usually resistant to receive help, there are ways to talk to them about the benefits of having a personal alarm and making lifestyle changes that can lead to a successful outcome.

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you talk to your loved ones about the benefits of having a personal alarm and talking to elderly relatives about lifestyle changes.

Download this guide

You can also download this guide as a PDF to share.

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1. Put yourself in their shoes

Before you begin the conversation about personal safety with your loved ones, it might be helpful to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what it would feel like if your own children approached you and suggested that you needed a personal alarm to help you feel confident and safe. It's possible that you might feel a little defensive or concerned about losing your independence.

It's important to approach the conversation with compassion and understanding. Let them know calmly that your goal is the same as theirs - to help them remain safely independent at home for as long as possible.


2. Ask questions to reach understanding

It's important to approach the conversation with your parents about getting an alarm with care. Instead of simply telling them that they need an alarm, it's better to start by asking them questions about their lifestyle and needs.

Try to understand what they value and what helps them to improve their quality of life. This can help you in understanding what kind of alarm would be the best fit for their current lifestyle. 

To start the conversation, ask open-ended questions like "What do you think might happen if you had a fall and couldn’t get to the phone?" or "Do you know anything about fall alarms?"

Make sure to listen carefully to their answers and take them into consideration. Sometimes, the resistance to getting a personal alarm is due to lack of awareness about availability of different personal alarms with different features, such as if they like being active, they can choose the out-and-about personal alarms.

3. Explore different options

Sometimes, your loved one might be resistant to using a personal alarm because they associate them with old-fashioned, bulky alarms worn by elderly people. They may have seen an unflattering advert depicting an old lady who has fallen at the foot of the stairs.

However, personal alarms have evolved, and there is now a range of stylish devices available. Sharing with your loved ones some of the more modern devices that have high-tech features such as GPS tracking, reminders and alerts, or step counters, might be enough to convince them.

You can download our product brochures to look through together, so that your parent can see that there are discreet, stylish alarms available that match a variety of lifestyles. Additionally, you can compare personal alarm features online.


4. Explain the risks

Risks of having a fall

According to guidance from Public Health England, people over 65 are at a higher risk of falling. Falls and fractures are a serious health issue and extremely expensive, both to the NHS and, more importantly, to the affected person.

Some older adults may never fully recover from a fall, leading to distress, pain, long-term injuries and loss of confidence. Studies show falls are the number one precipitating factor for a person losing independence and going into long-term care. Solutions such as personal alarms can ensure that if your loved does fall, they can get help more quickly.

Discussing the statistics and facts about falls with your parent can help them understand the significance of getting help quickly.

Is your Mum or Dad at risk of a fall?

Take our Falls Risk Assessmsent and download our free falls prevention guide.

It contains advice on avoiding falls and how to keep your loved ones safe at home.

Falls Risk Assessment Tool


5. Why choose an alarm from Taking Care?

Taking Care is the largest private provider of personal alarms in the UK. We have been providing alarm services for more than 30 years and have supported over ¼ million people and their families with personal alarms.

Personal alarm statistics

There are no long-term contracts with our personal alarm service and you can cancel at any time.

We are the first Which? Approved personal alarm provider in the UK and are committed to the Which? code of conduct. We are regularly assessed to ensure we continue to meet the high standards of the Which? Consumer Association.


6. What can you do if a loved one might not wear their personal alarm?

Some people may not always remember to wear their personal alarm. Taking Care Sense addresses this concern and provides additional reassurance that everything is OK. It is a discreet in-home monitoring device that is simply placed in the kitchen.

Taking Care Sense learns your loved one’s behaviour patterns through changes in temperature extremes and the room environment.

Taking Care Sense

It will notify Taking Care’s Resolution Team of any issues that need investigating, for example if your loved one is not out of bed and making breakfast as they normally do, or if there is an extreme low temperature warning. The Resolution Team will make a wellbeing check-in call to your loved one and a weekly email summary helps you manage your loved one’s wellbeing by reviewing changes in their activity and room temperature in the kitchen.

There are no intrusive cameras or microphones, and Taking Care Sense works out-of-the-box without wiring or setup.


7. Be patient and revisit the conversation

Our parents are used to caring for us as children, so reversing this responsibility is complex emotionally. Patience and understanding is key.

These discussions might not be resolved in one sitting or even in the short-term. Your loved ones may need time to process the information and consider their feelings. Be patient and open to revisiting the conversation later.

For more guidance, check out our psychologist tips for having challenging conversations about care with your elderly parents. 

Personal alarms

Compare our range of in-home and out-and-about personal alarms.

Personal alarms for the elderly

If your parents are finding it difficult to maintain their independence at home, they may also benefit from home adaptations or independent living aids. We have several useful guides to rise and recline armchairs and walking aids.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

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