If your dad, granddad, or any other father figure seems to opt for doing anything at all over visiting the doctor, he is in great company. The Cleveland Clinic recently conducted a survey on men’s healthcare and discovered that only about half of the men interviewed get routine examinations, and almost ¾ of them would rather clean the toilet than see the doctor!
Various reasons are given for this avoidance, ranging from a concern with hearing bad news to merely not wishing to see the number revealed when stepping onto the scale. Whatever is keeping a senior man that you know from getting the medical attention he needs, there are lots of tactics you can try to help him feel more at ease in handling his health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you should do is make the senior defensive. Expressions such as, “I’m feeling worried about…” are a lot more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations centered on facts. Incorporating factual information along with your “I” statements often helps raise awareness of a condition the senior has been denying, such as, “I see how hard it is becoming for you to walk without growing short of breath.”
- Ask for his help in problem-solving. Ask the senior if he has noticed the issue as well, and what he thinks would be the best course of action. If he expresses a barrier to visiting the doctor, like not enough time, trouble with driving, etc., work together to find a solution.
- Turn to an individual he trusts. At times, senior men may feel more comfortable heeding the recommendations of someone other than their kids. Try explaining the problem to someone the senior trusts, such as his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or good friend, and see if they are willing to talk with him about the need to see the doctor.
- Have patience. It might very well take more than one conversation before the senior actually makes an appointment with his physician. Allow a while for him to mull over your first conversation, and then gently bring up the topic again.
It is important to try to avoid reversing roles and parenting an older parent, pestering, or allowing the conversation to become volatile. Calmly and respectfully let your voice be heard, while keeping in mind that ultimately it is his decision.
Morning Glory Home Care, a provider of Alton memory care and senior care in Alton, IL and nearby areas, is here to help too. Our in-home care experts are skilled in encouraging older adults to take the best possible care of themselves. We can also provide accompanied transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up medications and help with medication reminders, and a whole lot more.
Call us any time at 618-667-8400 to learn more about how we can help the older adults in your life live healthier lives, and to set up a complimentary in-home assessment to get started. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide our award-winning in-home care services, please visit our Service Area page.