This week’s question: 

My loved one refuses to see a doctor. How do I convince them to go?


It can often be difficult to get a loved one to go to the doctor for a diagnosis, or even just a routine check-up. First, it is important to know why they may feel reluctant in the first place. It might be due to fear or apprehension, or not understanding why a doctor’s visit is necessary. Remember that your loved one might have dementia, which affects thinking, reasoning and language skills. 

Try to address this reluctance by not arguing, and calmly stating your position, for example: “I know you are healthy and you feel you don’t need to see a doctor, but I would feel so much better knowing that you have a clean bill of health.”


Additional suggestions:

  • Schedule an appointment for both of you and place emphasis on your health needs: “I need to see the doctor today, will you go with me?”
  • Validate their fear and apprehension: “We need to ask the doctor if your medications, hearing difficulties, blood pressure, etc. could be responsible for your symptoms.”
  • Add another pleasurable event as an incentive: “After we go to the doctor, we will go to lunch at your favorite restaurant,” or “After the doctor appointment, we will go see our grandchildren.” 
  • Ask the doctor’s office to call and schedule an appointment with your loved one for a check-up, medication check, flu shot, etc. 
  • Ask the pharmacist to tell your loved one that a doctor’s visit is necessary before their prescription can be refilled. 
  • Give the doctor’s office a call before the appointment to let them know you have concerns about your loved one’s health and their apprehension about seeing the doctor.

Our Helpline and our
caregiver topic sheets can help you navigate through behavior and communication changes, and provide tips that may help. For an in-depth guide on strategies for smoothly scheduling and getting to doctor’s appointments, you can refer to our Visiting the Doctor sheet.


Have questions concerning Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory issues? We have answers.

As part of our array of programs and services for local families affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, Alzheimer’s Orange County offers a free telephone helpline to answer any questions you may have about the disease. Whether you are someone experiencing dementia or other memory problems, a caregiver, or simply have questions about the disease, our experts are here to provide you with the information, resources, and advice that you need.

Our very own Helpline Specialists join us on our blog series to answer the most frequently asked questions that they encounter from caregivers and their loved ones, as well as their solutions to common issues and difficulties you may be experiencing.

Have a question about Alzheimer’s & dementia, but don’t see it here? Be sure to contact Alzheimer’s Orange County’s Helpline at 844-HELP-ALZ (844-435-7259) and we will help. To see the other programs and resources that Alzheimer’s Orange County can offer to you and your loved ones, visit our website at