Should You Give a Medical Alert System for a Christmas Present?

Selecting gifts for older adults is challenging enough without having to worry about whether you're going to offend or disappoint them. But what if a gift is not exactly conventional, but is exactly what you're loved one needs? We're talking about a medical alert system, and whether it's appropriate for under the tree.

Gift Giving 101

When selecting a gift for a friend, loved one, co-worker, neighbor or another person, one directive rises above the rest: the choice should be directly informed by the preferences and personality of the recipient. The same basic premise applies when it comes to deciding on a medical alert system for your aging loved one.

Typical questions to ask before deciding on any present include, “Will the recipient want it?” Will the recipient use it?” and “Does the recipient need it?”

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, your gift-buying just got a lot easier, and a medical alert system makes good sense.

Conversely, if you answered “no” to all three, a medical alert system is unlikely to be a hit.

However, if you answered a combination of “yesses” and “nos,” some additional consideration may be required to help you reach a final decision.

Medical Alert System: A Welcome or Offensive Gift?

Whether valid or not, some recipients may find such the gift of a medical alert system to be off-putting due to the presumed implication they're either old or suffering from issues which might precipitate a medical emergency.

One way to navigate this tricky territory is to be proactive about it. After all, unwrapping a medical alert system is likely to evoke a very different set of emotions than unwrapping a new scarf or pair of pajamas. Let your aging loved one know in advance that the gift is serious; that way, he won't feel completely ambushed.

If he looks confused or certain upon opening the gift, meanwhile, a simple comment like, “We worry about you, and this will help us feel some peace of mind,” can explain your motivations while increasing the likelihood that the gift will be accepted and used.

It's also useful to talk to other family caregivers before giving a loved one a medical alert system. If you're all on the same page and can present a united front, the gift is much more likely to be received in the spirit with which it was intended.

To Gift or Not to Gift

In some cases, however, a medical alert system may not be the right gift for an older adult. This does not mean, however, that one is not warranted. If you believe your aging loved one may resent the gift of a medical alert system, find it offensive, or even hate the idea of getting something so utilitarian as a gift, it may not be right for Christmas. However, that's not to say it wouldn't make the perfect “just because” gift to start off the new year this January.

Ultimately, medical alert systems save lives, and we can think of no better gift than that. With the right presentation, your aging loved one is likely to appreciate the thought along with the love and concern behind it. Check out our recommended medical alert system list for 2020.

For more useful content on senior caregiving, senior housing, senior home care and more, be sure to visit The Senior List often.

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