Dear Donna:

I watched a segment on the news about June being Men’s Health Month. It made me realize that my dad hasn’t been to the doctor since my mom passed away almost two years ago. She was the one who always kept him on track. He’s always been terrible about scheduling physicals and preventive screenings.

I want to discuss it with him this weekend, but I’m anxious about it. Do you have any suggestions I can use to convince my dad it’s important to see the doctor even if he’s not feeling sick? I could use a little advice!


Kim in Midland, MI

Why It’s Important to See the Doctor on a Regular Basis

Dear Kim:

I wish I could tell you how often we hear this concern from women about the men in their lives! Cleveland Clinic actually surveyed men on this topic and found they would do just about anything not to see the doctor. In fact, only about half of the men they spoke with have an annual physical regularly.

The survey found that some men were conditioned from a young age not to discuss or complain about their health. Other reasons men cited for not seeing the doctor included not wanting to know if they had a medical issue, an unwillingness to change their lifestyle, and embarrassment. This information might give you some insight as to why your dad won’t see his doctor as often as he should. That may be helpful in overcoming his reluctance.

Another factor to consider is whether he’s comfortable with his current doctor. Maybe he is seeing a female physician and would prefer a male. A lack of experience with older adults is another reason a doctor may not connect with a senior. While a physician doesn’t necessarily need to be a geriatrician, finding someone who is knowledgeable and a good listener is vital. If the two of you decide it’s time for your dad to make a change, “4 Tips for Helping a Senior Find a Primary Care Doctor” has some good tips.

One last suggestion is to start with a virtual or telehealth appointment. Most physician offices started offering these during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s to meet and greet with a new doctor or check in with his current one, it’s worth calling to see if this is an option for a reluctant patient.

I hope this helps you! Best of luck speaking with your dad.

Kind regards,


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