If your father, grandfather, or any other father figure appears to prefer doing anything at all over visiting the doctor, he is in great company. The Cleveland Clinic recently surveyed men about this very topic and discovered that only ½ of those interviewed get routine examinations, and almost ¾ would prefer to clean the bathroom than go to the doctor!
The reasoning behind this avoidance varies, ranging from a fear of hearing bad news to simply not wanting to see the number shown when stepping onto the scale. No matter what 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 comfortable in taking care of his health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you want to 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 founded on facts. Incorporating factual information along with your “I” statements can help raise awareness of a condition the senior had been denying, such as, “I see how hard it is becoming for you to walk without getting short of breath.”
- Ask for his help in problem-solving. Ask if he has noticed the problem as well, and what he thinks is the ideal plan of action. If he conveys a barrier to going to the doctor, like a lack of time, difficulty with driving, etc., work together to find an answer.
- Turn to an individual he trusts. Sometimes, senior men may feel more at ease heeding the recommendations of someone other than their children. Try describing the situation to someone the senior trusts, like his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or good friend, and find out if they are willing to speak with him about the need to see the doctor.
- Have patience. It may very well require more than one conversation before the senior actually makes an appointment with his physician. Allow some time for him to think about your first conversation, and then gently broach the subject again.
It is crucial that you refrain from switching roles and parenting an older parent, nagging, or allowing the discussion to become volatile. Calmly and respectfully let your voice be heard, while keeping in mind that ultimately it is his choice.
At-Home Care Company, Boone home health care providers for the surrounding areas, are here to help as well. Our home care professionals are skilled in assisting families who are caring for a senior man and encouraging older adults to take the best possible care of themselves. We can also provide accompanied transportation to doctors’ visits, pick up prescriptions and assist with medication reminders, and so much more.
Call us any time at 515-292-2650 to learn more about how we can help the older adults in your life live healthier lives, and to set up a no-cost in-home assessment to get started. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.