If your dad, grandpa, or any other father figure appears to prefer doing anything at all over going to the doctor, he’s in good company. The Cleveland Clinic recently questioned men on this very subject and determined that only 50 percent of those interviewed get regular checkups, and almost ¾ of those interviewed would prefer to clean the toilet than visit the doctor!
There are various reasons for this avoidance, ranging from a concern with hearing bad news to merely not wanting to see the number revealed when stepping onto the scale. No matter what is preventing a senior man in your life from receiving the medical attention he needs, there are numerous approaches you can try to help him feel more at ease in taking care of his health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you want to do is make the senior defensive. Expressions like, “I’m feeling concerned about…” are much more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations founded on facts. Incorporating factual evidence together with your “I” statements can help raise awareness of a problem the older adult had been denying, such as, “I can see how hard it is for you to walk without becoming short of breath.”
- Enlist his help in problem-solving. Inquire if he has noted the difficulty as well, and what he thinks is the best course of action. If he conveys a barrier to visiting the doctor, such as not enough time, difficulty with driving, etc., collaborate to find a resolution.
- Turn to someone he trusts. Often, senior men may be more comfortable taking the recommendations of somebody other than their kids. Try explaining the specific situation to someone the older adult trusts, such as his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or close friend, and determine if they’re willing to speak to him in regards to the need to see the doctor.
- Have patience. It may very well require more than one conversation before the senior decides to make an appointment with the doctor. Allow some time for him to think about your first discussion, and then gently broach the subject again.
It’s imperative that you 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 realizing that ultimately it is his decision.
Compassionate Nursing Services, a provider of at-home care in St. Louis and the surrounding areas, is here to provide support as well. Our aging care professionals are skilled in prioritizing the health of senior men and encouraging the them to take the best possible care of themselves. We can also provide accompanied transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions and help with medication reminders, and much more.
Reach out to our home care team at 314-432-4312 for more information on how we can help the older adults in your life live healthier lives, and to make arrangements for a complimentary in-home consultation to get started.