What is it about men of a certain age not wanting to visit the doctor, when there is a clear need for them to go? “No, no, I’m fine really, it’s nothing”. Meanwhile you’re worried that their chesty cough is actually pneumonia.

So what can you do if a male in your life has a fear about going to see a doctor? First of all, consider their reasoning behind their refusal.

  • Have they had a visit to the hospital in the past few years, or had a major surgery that could still be giving them anxiety?
  • Are they short on cash, or trying to hold onto their money, and perhaps worried about what they see as unnecessary medical expenses?
  • Is there something coming up, such as a wedding or new arrival, and they could be worried about their potential illness getting in the way of the festivities?
  • Are they just plain stubborn and actually think that their issues will go away by themselves?
  • Are the symptoms embarrassing, or likely to show them as weak or vulnerable, and they may be trying to avoid diagnosis?

Once you know their possible reasons for avoiding making that call, you might be better equipped to offer support and convince them that they should get help.

So what can you do? Try one of these ideas to get them into the GP. 

1. Ask them straight out

Many people assume that since their husband hasn’t seen a doctor in, oh, twenty years, they won’t bother hassling them about it. But often by bringing it up and speaking to them directly about it, you can get the result you were hoping for. Try “I’m really worried about the changes on your skin that I’ve noticed in the past few months. I’d like to make a call now and get you an appointment to have it checked out.”

If your partner has someone that they often turn to for advice, have a word in their ear. Mention that you are worried about certain symptoms and could they suggest they get checked out when they are next chatting. In some families it is one of the kids that can get through to dad, so why not give it a try.

3. Make it a fun family affair

Just like it’s more fun to exercise with a partner, they might be more likely to see the doctor if you are going too. Try this: “I’m booking in my annual visit at the GP to get a once over. Shall we go together? We could go for lunch afterwards.”

4. Make them think it was their idea

For instance you might say something like “You mentioned having trouble hearing the TV tonight. I read something online about being able to get hearing tests done for free as they are bulk billed. Should we check it out?”

Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments.

This article was written in partnership with Over60.