If your dad, grandpa, or any other father figure would rather opt for doing anything at all over visiting the doctor, he is in great company. The Cleveland Clinic recently questioned men about this very topic and discovered that only half of those interviewed get regular examinations, and almost ¾ of them prefer to clean the toilet than go to the doctor!
The reasoning behind this avoidance varies, ranging from a concern about hearing bad news to merely not wanting to see the number displayed when being weighed. Whatever is keeping a senior man that you know from getting the medical attention he needs, there are several strategies you can try to help him feel more at ease in addressing his senior health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you should do is make the senior defensive. Expressions such as, “I’m feeling concerned about…” are much more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations founded on facts. Using factual information 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. Ask the senior if he has detected the issue as well, and what he thinks would be the best course of action. If he expresses a barrier to going to the doctor, such as not enough time, trouble with driving, etc., collaborate to find a solution.
- Turn to an individual he trusts. Sometimes, senior men may feel more comfortable heeding the advice of someone other than their children. Try discussing the situation to someone the senior trusts, like his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or close friend, and see if they are willing to speak to him about the need to see the doctor.
- Have patience. It could very well take multiple conversations before the senior actually makes an appointment with his physician. Allow him some time to mull over your first conversation, and then gently broach the subject again.
It is imperative that you try to avoid switching roles and parenting an older parent, nagging, or allowing the discussion to become volatile. Calmly and respectfully allow your voice to be heard, while keeping in mind that in the end, it is his decision.
Grace Home Care, a provider of senior care and dementia care in Topeka, is here to assist as well. Our in-home care experts are skilled in encouraging seniors to take the best possible care of themselves. We can also provide accompanied transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions and assist with medication reminders, and a whole lot more.
Contact us any time at 785-286-2273 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 assessment to get started.