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Older Adult Refusing To Go To the Doctor? Try These 5 Expert Tips

Jul 01, 2020




You care about your older loved one so much and for some reason, they're just not listening to you and your pleas for them to go to the doctor. You try and you try, but nothing you say is convincing your older loved one that whatever is going on in their body is worth checking out.

In today's episode of the Psychology of Aging Podcast, I share 5 expert strategies for helping your older loved one to go to the doctor when they're refusing.

Here's a peak inside the episode:

  • [03:05] If your older loved one is refusing to go to the doctor and you're really worried,  you may find yourself being demanding or pushy. If so, consider changing how you approach your older loved one.
  • [04:32] Taking the time to see where your older loved one is coming from may help to reveal some important health care issues. 
  • [07:27] The third strategy might actually be a win:win and expand your older loved one's care network.
  • [09:32] We all have preferences for whom we wish to talk about our medical or mental health concerns. Do you know what your older loved one's preferences actually are? The fourth strategy will help.
  • [12:00] You may not like this fifth strategy, but it may be just what your older loved one needs to come around.
  • [13:53] There are some acute medical situations that cannot wait for your older loved one to schedule an appointment with their doctor. Learn more here.

By the end of this episode, you'll have strategies for communicating more effectively with your older loved one, increasing the chance they'll go to the doctor, and making your relationship even stronger.


Important Note...

In some extreme cases, if your older loved one is behaving strangely and having hallucinations (hearing or seeing things others don't hear or see) or delusions (bizarre beliefs), and this is occurring all of a sudden and out of the blue, these might be symptoms of a serious medical problem, like delirium, and you may need to call 911 or take your loved one to the ER immediately.  Learn more about delirium here.


Click here to listen to the episode!



Where to Find a Geriatrician?

In this episode, I mentioned that your older loved one may benefit from working with a Geriatrician. A Geriatrician is a Primary Care Provider who specializes in older adults. Here are some tips for finding a Geriatrician:


  •, created by the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation, provides up-to-date information and advice on health and aging. Their Find A Geriatrics Health Professional referral tool allows you to plug in your zip code and find geriatric specialists near you.
  • Major Medical Centers and Universities - If your older loved one lives near a major medical center or medical university, go online (or google them) to see if they offer geriatric primary care services, a geriatric medical clinic,  geriatricians, geriatric medicine, etc.
  • Area Agency on Aging. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and see if they have any recommendations for geriatric medicine specialists. Simply plug in your zip code and call the agency nearest your oldest loved one.



Worried Your Older Loved One May Have Memory Loss?

Download  Dr. Koepp's Ultimate Memory Loss Guide. In this guide, I share the 10 must know warning signs of memory loss, what to do if your loved one has memory loss, and the benefits of early detection of memory loss and related conditions. Download the guide now.



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I'm Dr. Regina Koepp

I'm a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and Gerontologist specializing with older adults and families! As founder and CEO of Gero Champions, LLC and the Psychology of Aging Podcast, my mission is to help mental health and senior care providers meet the mental health and sexual health needs of older adults using up to date, evidence-based, and culturally thoughtful care.


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