If your dad, grandpa, or other father figure seems to opt for doing anything at all over going to the doctor, he’s in good company. The Cleveland Clinic recently interviewed men on this very topic and discovered that only ½ of those interviewed get routine examinations, and almost ¾ of them would prefer to clean the toilet than go to the doctor!
Various reasons are given for this avoidance, ranging from a concern with hearing bad news to merely 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 assistance he needs, there are various tactics you can try to help him feel more at ease in caring for his senior male health needs.
- “I” statements. The last thing you want to do is cause the senior to feel defensive. Expressions such as, “I’m feeling concerned about…” are a lot more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations based on facts. Incorporating factual evidence along with your “I” statements can help raise awareness of a condition the senior had been denying, for example, “I can see how hard it is becoming for you to walk without feeling short of breath.”
- Enlist his help in problem-solving. Inquire if he has observed the problem as well, and what he thinks would be the best course of action. If he communicates a barrier to visiting the doctor, such as too little time, difficulty with driving, etc., collaborate to come to a solution.
- Turn to a person he trusts. Sometimes, senior men may feel more comfortable heeding the recommendations of somebody other than their children. Try explaining the problem to someone the older adult trusts, like his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or good friend, and find out if they are willing to talk with him in regards to the need to see the doctor.
- Have patience. It might very well require multiple conversations before the senior actually makes an appointment with his physician. Allow some time for him to think about your first conversation, and then gently bring up the topic again.
It is crucial that you try to avoid reversing roles and parenting an older parent, pestering, or allowing the discussion to become volatile. Calmly and respectfully let your voice be heard, while bearing in mind that in the end, it is his decision.
Inspired Home Care, a provider of home care and recovery care in Lake Zurich, IL and surrounding areas, is here to provide support 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’ visits, pick up medications and assist with medication reminders, and so much more.