How can I convince my spouse to see a doctor?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

How can I get my husband the help he needs? He is losing his ability to walk, falls down even with the use of a walker and refuses to go for help. What can I do?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

This is a tough problem!  Some men just do not want to see a doctor, and there are numerous reasons why this could be happening with your husband.  Maybe he is afraid to hear that something is wrong.  Maybe he doesn't want to be told he will have to use a cane or walker.  Or, he may be distrustful of the health care system itself.  Denial is a powerful thing.

If he absolutely will not go to the doctor, could one of your relatives or children help convince him?  Or, perhaps you can try calling your local Department of Health, to see if they have some type of aging service that will come and see him at home?  Maybe they can do an assessment and even offer assistance without him needing to go see someone.

Most of the time, when this situation occurs, many people end up falling so badly that they end up hurt and need hospitalization to recover.  If your husband refuses to be helped now, the only time you will probably be able to help him is when he does fall and injures himself, because at that point he cannot ignore his problems any longer.  However, I would try the other suggestions I have given you to see if you can change his mind before something happens.  Good Luck!