Caring for a family member or loved one at home can be very rewarding, but it doesn’t come without challenges, which can become increasingly difficult if your loved one is unwilling to see their doctor regularly.

Apprehension about visiting the doctor is not uncommon. Many people avoid going out of fear of a diagnosis, because they associate the physician’s office with negative emotions or they are nervous about the care they may need, among other things. Try to understand your loved one’s fears and concerns, and have a conversation with them about why a visit to the doctor is beneficial for their well-being.

Image of senior couple comforting each other on the couch

While there is no simple answer for each individual circumstance, there are strategies you can use to help urge your loved one to seek the medical care they need.

Find out your loved one’s main objection. Are they worried about seeing a specialist their doctor will recommend? Maybe they are nervous to hear a diagnosis from their doctor that they didn’t expect. Or they may be anxious about hearing that a condition of theirs has worsened. Try to listen to their concerns about seeing the doctor.

Explain to your loved one why you want them to seek medical care. Try to be encouraging, loving and analytical as you explain to them:

  • Routine visits to the doctor offer preventative treatment.

    As your loved one ages, your doctor is going to know the conditions they may be susceptible to. Your doctor can recommend routines, exercise and even activities that may help your loved one stay on a healthy schedule or maintain a previously diagnosed condition.

  • The doctor may see something you don’t.

    As a caregiver, you aim to help your loved one to the best of your ability. Because of this, you may not notice when your loved one is exhibiting subtle symptoms of a serious illness or condition. Their primary care physician is trained to assess the circumstances and equip you and your loved one. A routine visit to the doctor is essential.

  • Minor illnesses can become major.

When left untreated, minor ailments could turn into major illnesses, or likewise, a minor cough or tender muscle could be an inclination that something more severe is afoot. Talk with your loved one’s primary care physician about your concerns  and don’t be afraid to ask about something that you think may be wrong.

Enlist help from your loved one’s primary care physician.

It’s the doctor’s job to know your loved one’s medical history and care needs. They can make the best recommendations based on your loved one’s current age, weight and past medical issues. Your loved one’s primary care doctor won’t know how to help if they can’t see and treat you routinely.

Often, when your loved one’s primary care physician refers them to a specialist, that can lead to apprehension about trusting a new face or seeking a higher level of care. Ask the PCP to relate success stories to your loved one or case studies of other patients who have gone to see the specialist so it puts their mind at ease.

Make a day of it.

Unpleasant tasks are easier to handle when they are followed by enjoyable ones. If your loved one is able, take them to do their favorite activity following the doctor’s appointment so they have something else to look forward to later in the day. Perhaps you can take them to eat at their favorite restaurant and have a dialogue about the visit to the doctor.

Reach out to someone they admire or respect.

Try to think of someone your family member knows and respects, such as a co-worker, member of law enforcement, or leader in their religious community. Ask that person if they’d be willing to speak to your loved on about seeing the doctor.

In-home physician care may be the best option for your loved one to seek routine treatment. A doctor can make routine visits to your home or you loved one’s residence and can offer skilled medical care.

We offer in-home physician care through Kindred House Calls. Our experienced clinicians strive to keep you happy, healthy, independent and hospital free.

To learn more about in-home physician care services, visit our website or call 1.866.KINDRED to speak to a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week to learn if this level of care is right for your loved one or if it’s offered in your area.

By Hayley Pugel