If your dad, grandfather, or any other father figure appears to opt for doing anything at all over visiting the doctor, he’s in great company. The Cleveland Clinic recently questioned men on this very subject and discovered that only half of them get regular examinations, and almost ¾ of those interviewed would prefer to clean the toilet than go to the doctor!
The reasoning behind this avoidance varies, ranging from an anxiety about hearing bad news to merely not wanting to see the number shown when stepping onto the scale. Regardless of what is preventing the senior males in your life from obtaining the medical attention they need, there are numerous strategies you can try to help them feel more at ease in addressing their health needs.
- Use “I” statements. The last thing you want to do is cause the senior to feel defensive. Expressions like, “I’m feeling concerned about…” are much more effective than, “You never…” or “You always…”
- Keep your observations based on facts. Using factual evidence together with your “I” statements can help raise awareness of a problem the older adult has been denying, for example, “I see how hard it is for you to walk without becoming 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 ideal solution. If he conveys a barrier to visiting the doctor, such as a lack of time, trouble with driving, etc., work together to come to a resolution.
- Turn to an individual he trusts. Often, senior males may feel more comfortable taking the advice of somebody other than their kids. Try explaining the specific situation to someone the senior trusts, such as his spouse, siblings, a clergy member, or good friend, and see if they are willing to speak to him in regards to the need to see the doctor.
- Have patience. It could very well take more than one conversation before the senior actually makes an appointment with the doctor. Allow him the opportunity to think about your first discussion, and then gently bring up the topic again.
It’s crucial that you try to avoid switching roles and parenting an older parent, nagging, or allowing the conversation to become explosive. Calmly and respectfully let your voice be heard, while realizing that in the end, it is his choice.
Absolute Companion Care, a trusted provider of home health care in Towson and the surrounding communities is here to help too. Our care team is skilled in motivating older adults to take the best possible care of themselves. We can also provide accompanied transportation to doctors’ visits, pick up medications and help with medication reminders, and so much more.
Call us today at 410-357-9640 to explore how we can help the senior males in your life live healthier lives, and to make arrangements for a complimentary in-home assessment to get started. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide our award-winning home health care, please visit our Service Area page.