Fall Prevention: Dealing with Resistance

Caregiving presents all sorts of challenges. Relationships can be strained when you and your loved one disagree on basic issues. For instance, your Type A mother may be cognitively intact but she has unrealistic expectations of what she can still accomplish. Or your independent-minded father resists the notion of needing help of any kind.

Generational clashes are especially common when it comes to the use of personal emergency response
devices. A daughter watches her elderly mother’s unsteady steps and suggests purchasing a personal emergency response device. The request is met with scorn. “Absolutely not,” she snaps. “Those things are for old people. Besides, nothing's going to happen to me. And if it does, I'll call you. That's what daughters are for.”

Elders often forget that falls can happen anywhere—often far from a phone. Falls can happen anytime. What happens if the fall happens during an ice storm? Family caregivers may not be able to reach the elder. But first responders might be able to make it.

What can you do if you’re worried about a loved one falling and he or she refuses to consider a personal emergency response device?  

Sometimes children have to take responsibility into their own hands, says Debra King, LMSW. Though this may seem like a flippant response, it’s a serious strategy for dealing with elders in denial. Caregivers often have no other choice. King suggests purchasing several personal emergency response devices and placing them around the house. “Put one on the shower floor, one at the bottom of the stairs, one on the kitchen floor, and one on the bedroom floor,” Debra advises. “Scatter them throughout the house and tell Mom or Dad where they are. But insist that they leave them there. Just in case.”

Everyone, even elderly loved ones, will be thankful for the child’s forethought when a fall happens and a personal emergency response device is within arm’s reach.~


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