It's not uncommon for men to avoid the doctor, even if they feel sick. But there are ways to convince him to do what's best for his health without getting his gander up.
Are the men in your life — whether it’s your dad, husband, or friends — stubborn as can be? Do they refuse to go to the doctor despite nagging pains or ailments? It’s not an uncommon scenario. Many older people are wary of doctors. And compared to women, men are less likely to go for their yearly checkups and be on top of their routine screenings.
Many serious illnesses can be prevented or cured with early detection. Older men in particular are at risk of heart disease and certain cancers, including prostate, which can be treated if caught early enough.
In a Cleveland Clinic news release, Dr. Eric Klein says “[M]en need to pay attention to their health and take steps today to talk about it, make an appointment and get the necessary screenings that could impact their lives.”
“Prevention is paramount for a man’s health,” Klein added. “Knowing the facts, being proactive and taking advantage of the numerous advancements in healthcare today can make a big difference in a man’s life.”
Got a man in your life who won’t go to the doctor? Here are some suggestions to convince him.
It’s undoubtedly frustrating when someone you love won’t go for routine check-ups and screenings. Try not to get angry with him. Instead, try to see things from his perspective. Ask him what’s holding him back, and show that you’re listening. It’s often easier to persuade people when you’re coming from a place of empathy.
Address his underlying feelings
Does he think men shouldn’t ask for help? Tell him that going to the doctor isn’t wimpy; it’s a power move! Is he shy or embarrassed? Remind him that doctors have seen and heard it all. Is he afraid of being judged? Ask around for a doctor with a great bedside manner.
Remind him why it’s important
Many life-threatening conditions, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, have few or no symptoms. Going to the doctor is key to getting these under control and avoiding more serious problems. If he’s afraid of hearing bad news, tell him early detection of a problem is always better – and offer to go with him!
Help him choose a new doctor
He might not admit it, but one reason he might skip his health appointments is that he’s not comfortable with his current doctor. Ask if he’d like to search for a new one. Suggest that he ask friends and neighbors if they like their doctor, or offer to ask for him. Write a post on his town’s Facebook page looking for recommendations.
Make it easy (and maybe even fun)
Does he need a ride to the doctor? Make sure he has a reliable way to get to his appointment. Does he make excuses that he has too much to do? Try to find him a doctor with an office near his favorite coffee shop. Offer to go with him to his appointment and then plan something fun to do afterwards, like go to lunch or the movies.
Remind him he’s a role model
Sometimes we all need to be reminded that other people — whether it’s children, grandchildren, our friends, or spouses — are observing us, and they look up to us. Ask him if he’d want his loved ones to ignore their health concerns. The role reversal might help him come around.
Suggest a virtual visit
If anything good came out of the pandemic, it was the wide-spread adoption of telemedicine. Although it can’t match the scope of an in-person visit, a virtual visit does allow a doctor to make some assessments. And if the virtual visit goes well, the man in your life may just decide to go in person next time.
Try a pharmacy-based clinic
Some pharmacies, like CVS, now offer short physicals in their stores. He can get an instant cholesterol test, blood pressure screening, and more. He might feel less pressure in this setting, especially since he’s not choosing a doctor for the rest of his life. He may feel a little more in control of what happens and less intimidated by the aura of a doctor’s office.
Honor his decision
The reality is that there is only so much you can do or say to try to convince someone else to care about their health. If he still says no, tell him you wish he’d make a different decision and that you’re available if he changes his mind. Stay hopeful and keep asking periodically. Change doesn’t happen overnight.
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