If your dad, grandpa, or other father figure seems to have a preference for doing anything at all over going to the doctor, he’s in good company. The Cleveland Clinic recently surveyed men about this very topic and uncovered that only about half of them get regular examinations, and almost three-quarters of those interviewed prefer to clean the toilet than see the doctor!
Various reasons are given for this avoidance, ranging from an anxiety about hearing bad news to merely not wanting to see the number displayed when being weighed. Regardless of what is keeping an older man that you know from obtaining the medical attention he needs, there are various approaches you can try to help him feel more comfortable in taking care of his senior male health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you should do is cause the senior to feel defensive. Phrases like, “I’m feeling worried about…” are much more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations centered on facts. Using factual evidence together with your “I” statements can help raise awareness of a problem the older adult had been denying, such as, “I see how challenging it is for you to walk without becoming short of breath.”
- Ask for his help in problem-solving. Ask the senior if he has noticed the problem as well, and what he thinks would be the ideal plan of action. If he conveys a barrier to going to the doctor, such as too little time, trouble with driving, etc., work together to find a resolution.
- Turn to a person he trusts. Often, senior men may feel more comfortable taking the recommendations of a person other than their children. Try explaining the specific situation to someone the senior trusts, such as his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or good friend, and find out if they’re willing to talk to him in regards to the need to see the doctor.
- Be patient. It might very well take more than one conversation until the senior actually makes an appointment with the doctor. Allow time for him to mull over your first conversation, and then gently bring up the topic again.
It’s important to refrain from switching roles and parenting an older parent, pestering, or allowing the conversation to become explosive. Calmly and respectfully allow your voice to be heard, while bearing in mind that in the end, it is his choice.
Anthem Home Care, a provider of award-winning home care in Sinton, TX and surrounding areas, is here to assist as well. Our aging care experts are skilled in motivating seniors 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 much more.