I believe we all have that one stubborn as a mule relative who refuses to see a doctor. Yet, we’ve all been there at some point, or at the very least know someone who has. So, how can you persuade your loved one to see a doctor without stirring up quite the ruckus?
As a parent, handling stubbornness comes with the territory. I have more than earned my merit badge. Yet, I have little or no patience when I see an adult behaving obstinately with no fair explanation. Don’t allow yourself to "give up and give in". When it comes to caring for loved ones, there is no "get out of jail free card." Accepting their stubbornness is a good way to promote it; the longer it continues, the more it will develop.
When dealing with an elderly parent, keep in mind you may not be seen as an authoritative, figure. They most likely grew up in an environment where they just don’t share what they consider personal. After all, they aren’t called the “Silent Generation” for nothing. Characteristics develop around their upbringing during difficult times of the past. Whatever the case, your parents will need assistance as they grow older. If you can’t convince them to go see a doctor when needed, then it’s time to call in some reinforcements. Think hard—who do they respect or admire? Who will they listen too? It may be time to give someone else a shot.
You could get a little sneaky and ask them to go with you to your next check-up. “I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, do you want to come with me? We can do lunch afterwards at your favorite place”. You may even sweeten the deal by doing other things they enjoy. Not only are you spending precious time with them, but they may feel less opposed by seeing the doctor in action. By making the day as enjoyable as possible, it may take away some anxiety.
On the other end of the spectrum, a young person may not see the benefit in going for an annual checkup. Your loved one might be uncomfortable when it comes to presenting themselves for a physical exam due to embarrassment. I don’t know anyone who looks forward to shedding cloths during a checkup.
If you have a teen, he or she may be ready to be more independent, and don’t feel comfortable talking to the doctor with their parent present. If leaving the room will make my child be open and honest I would gladly leave the room. I would attend the part of the appointment I consider to be relevant or important, such as the medical history, but then leave the room for questions which may be uncomfortable like sexual history.
There are several reasons a person might refuse to see a doctor. Be supportive, whether it be fear from a past experience, fear of the diagnosis, or fear of being belittled or dismissed; your loved one needs to know you care. If you or a loved one is being dismissed and ignored, then it’s time to find another provider or speak up and fight for yourself. Take a picture, do your own research, just do whatever it takes to prove a point.
If you or a loved one cannot afford to see a doctor due to financial constraints, there are free clinics in the area that can help. To find a clinic nearest you go to https://freeclinicdirectory.org/search, and type in your zip code. When the page refreshes, scroll to the bottom of the page to see your results. If you don’t find results, then call any doctor’s office in your area; I’m sure they can provide assistance or point you in the right direction. Please keep in mind preventive care is the best way to remain and stay healthy.
Author: Jennie WelterShare