How (and Why) to Get Your Elderly Parent to Wear a Health Monitoring Device

How (and Why) to Get Your Elderly Parent to Wear a Health Monitoring Device

The wearable device market is booming. In 2017, more than 125 million wearable devices were sold and that number is projected to double by 2021.

While tracking fitness goals is one benefit of devices such as the Apple Watch, there are many other equally, if not more, important reasons these devices are so valuable. These types of devices are able to monitor chronic health conditions, as well as things like heart rate, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

The health features of the latest version of the Apple Watch are specifically targeted to seniors with heart-related conditions. It has an alert that warns wearers if their heart rate is falling to dangerously low levels, for example. It is even equipped with technology to run an electrocardiogram. The device also detects falls and if no movement is detected for more than a minute, it automatically calls for help.

When used as health monitoring tools, wearables can help to combat a wide range of challenges seniors and their caregivers face. These include mobility and safety issues.

Of course, getting an elderly loved one to wear such a device can be challenging. Thankfully, the latest wearable devices are a much easier sell for today’s seniors. This is because there is no stigma attached to a device such as an Apple Watch. In the past, wearable devices for seniors were obtrusive, obvious and served a single function, to allow the wearer to call for help in the case of a fall. Today’s wearables are used by young and old alike so they don’t call attention to the age of the user.

For seniors who don’t want to carry a smartphone everywhere they go, wearables are a great option because they can be used to text, email or make phone calls. Therefore, seniors can remain active and still have the security of knowing that no matter where they are, they are never alone. Plus, since these devices are water resistant, they can be worn in the shower or when it is raining out.

Many seniors and their caregivers are understandably concerned that a wearable device will be too complicated. However, today’s wearable devices are designed with ease of use in mind. For example, the Apple Watch allows seniors (and their caregivers) to load emergency contacts that can be reached with only a few taps or by summoning Siri. The fact that they don’t need to be unlocked makes a huge difference, as well. The latest Apple Watch also offers a larger display, making it easier on the eyes.

Of course, such devices are useless if your loved one refuses to wear it. If you are having trouble convincing your elderly parent to use a wearable device, Physicians Choice Private Duty suggests the following:

  1. Highlight the benefits. Let your loved one know that such a device is not a way to control them but rather to allow them to retain their independence.
  2. Enlist help. Ask your parent’s physician to suggest such a device. Sometimes hearing it from someone other than a child can make a big difference.
  3. Get your parent involved. Provide literature to your parent on any device you are thinking of purchasing. If possible, take them with you when you buy it so they feel involved in the process.
  4. Don’t force the issue. Threatening or ridiculing your parent into wearing a device won’t do any good. Instead, tell them how much they mean to you and how such a device would bring you peace of mind.