If your father, granddad, or any other father figure prefers to do anything at all over going to the doctor, he’s in good company. The Cleveland Clinic recently questioned men on this very issue and discovered that only half of them get regular examinations, and almost three-quarters of them would prefer to clean the restroom than go to the doctor!
The reason behind this avoidance varies, ranging from a concern with hearing bad news to simply not wanting to see the number revealed when being weighed. Regardless of what is keeping a senior man that you know from obtaining the medical attention he needs, there are numerous tactics you can try to help him feel more comfortable in taking care of his health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you should do is cause the senior to feel defensive. Expressions like, “I’m feeling nervous about…” are much more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations based around facts. Incorporating factual information with your “I” statements can help raise awareness of an issue the older adult has been denying, for example, “I see how hard it is becoming for you to walk without feeling short of breath.”
- Enlist his assistance with problem-solving. Inquire if he has observed the difficulty as well, and what he thinks would be the ideal solution. If he expresses a barrier to going to the doctor, such as too little time, difficulty with driving, etc., collaborate to come to a resolution.
- Turn to someone he trusts. Sometimes, senior men may feel more comfortable heeding the advice of someone other than their children. Try explaining the specific situation to a person the senior trusts, such as his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or close friend, and see if they’re willing to speak to him in regards to the need to see the doctor.
- Be patient. It might very well take more than one conversation before the senior actually makes an appointment with the doctor. Give him an opportunity to mull over your first conversation, and then gently bring up the topic again.
It’s vital that you try to avoid reversing roles and parenting an older parent, nagging, or allowing the discussion to become volatile. Calmly and respectfully let your voice be heard, while keeping at heart that ultimately it is his decision.
Abby Senior Care, a provider of award-winning in home care in Denver, CO, and the surrounding areas, is here to help too. Our senior care professionals are skilled in encouraging older adults to take the best possible care of themselves. We can also provide accompanied transportation to doctors’ visits, pick up medications and assist with medication reminders, and a whole lot more.