03.12.10

When Mom or Dad avoids the doctor:

Posted in Elder Care at 8:41 am by admin

“Dad, I’m really worried about you. Please go to the doctor and just get it check out.” I pleaded into the phone. “Oh, I’m alright,” my father brushed it off. “Your dad’s just getting old, that’s all.” I bit my lip in frustration, not knowing how else to convince him.
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My father resisted going to the doctor for any kind of elder care, but particularly when he began showing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. He went through a long period of denial before my siblings and I decided it was unloving to NOT intervene. Here are some steps we took to finally convince him to see a doctor.

1. Gather the family and gently explain your concerns and love for your parent.

2. Ask if there is a specific reason he or she resists going to the doctor. Allow time to respond, and gently identify general attempts to deflect the question. Dislike for his or her current practitioner could be resolved with a change in doctors. Fear of hearing bad news can be lessened when it’s spoken out loud and acknowledged, and when family members make an effort to help process through it. My father had developed a great distrust for doctors because of errors made in his own parents’ care. Verbalizing this to his family helped us be more sensitive in how we encouraged him to overcome this fear in order to receive the care he needed.

3. Simply ask him or her to get things checked out. Don’t predict the worst, but gently remind him or her that putting off care could allow things to progress to a point that is harder to stop or slow down. And, the issue could turn out to be something simple to address. Either way, you and your family will feel more peaceful knowing that mom or dad is receiving care.

4. Offer to make the appointment and provide transport and support. Our parents have done this for us for so many years, sometimes its hard for them to let their children swap roles, but recognizing and showing your love and willingness to be by their side can help them make the shift.

5. Gently bring up the subject at the next appointment even if it‘s not with the regular doctor. Sometimes a professional such as the chiropractor, urologist, or even dentist can be the one to convince mom or dad they need to see a doctor about a more serious health issue.

Don’t give up! Calmly breach the subject and allow him or her to respond. Reiterating your love and concern repeatedly could be what it takes to convince mom or dad it’s time to see the doctor. [ad#ad-1]