Encouraging a Senior Loved One to Go to the Doctor

It’s not too uncommon for one to dread going to the doctor. The struggle can be overbearing when you have to figure out what to do when your loved one is in need of medical treatment, but is refusing care. Convince your relative to see a doctor by initiating a dialogue where concerns are addressed and their reluctance is understood. Plan to work on finding a solution that meets both their needs and allows them to see the need of visiting the doctor.

If you want to avoid making a decision in haste and that includes your loved one’s best interests, do not wait for a crisis. Try to get your loved one regular checkups before a problem occurs. People over 50 years old should see a doctor at least once a year.

Approach the sensitive subject with care. Have an easy-going conversation with no pressure. Choose a time and place that you both will be relaxed and able to talk without distractions. You will possibly need to use persuasion when it comes to talking to your loved one about seeing the doctor, without backing them into a corner. The conversation can begin by asking basic questions about their diet and lifestyle. Ask them to go see the doctor for you and the rest of the family.

It is important to remember to not treat your parent like a child. They don’t want to lose their status, control or independence. Have empathy when talking to them.

Your loved one may need you to join them when they go to the appointment. You may need to be their advocate. They may or may not want you to join them in the examination room however. Do not pressure into being in the examination room with them, but try to make sure that you and your loved one get all questions answered. Be sure to write your questions down in advance.

If the doctor seems concerned with a potential serious health condition, your loved one will need you to remain calm. Take notes with everything the doctor says and gather information.

Dependent on how the visit goes, your loved one may need to begin new medications, start a daily exercise routine or change their diet. Commit as much time as you can to helping them make any transitions that will improve their health. Work on a plan to have a daily phone call or home visit with your loved one to check in and ask how they are doing.

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