Q. “My parents need to see a doctor, but are resistant to going.”
A. There are many reasons older adults are reluctant to see a doctor. It could be about the fear of what the exam might reveal, they’re embarrassed to discuss certain problems, money and paying for medical help, afraid they will seem dumb, or doctors will talk over their heads and they won’t understand what’s being said.
Many older adults will go, but then don’t ask questions, not fully understand what is going on, or what the options are. They often believe that doctors are authority figures and are not to be questioned.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What makes you think your mom, dad or another relative needs to see a doctor?
- What concerns do your family members have about health care?
- What are the reasons for them to stay away – financial, fear of what they may be told, lack of understanding about their condition, pain?
- Are there things that can be done to help alleviate these fears?
Helpful Tips: Talk with them about your concerns. Let them know you want them to stick around, and be as healthy as possible. Let them know of your experiences with doctors, nurses and the medical field. If you’ve had any difficult times getting help, or understanding the doctors, let them know how you resolved the issues.
Offer to go with them to take notes and ask questions when they go to the doctor’s office. Suggest some other alternatives; find a new doctor for them; find some local facilities to visit together to see what they are like.