If you've ever talked to an aging parent or friend about their health care and heard comments such as I can live with it, it's not that bad, it ain't broke don't fix it, or all I do is go to doctor appointments, it can be frustrating and even heartbreaking.
Many adult children can compare stories of how their mom won't have her knee replacement surgery or their dad won't get hearing aids. But Dr. Martin Gorbien, director of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, says the issue is not so much about aging, but about their health care becoming a topic of family conversation.
"Health becomes more public in the family," he says.
There may not be that many differences in how they care for themselves now and how they were caring for themselves when they were younger, Gorbien says.
What's the hold up?
Fitting hearing aids for 35 years Susan Rogan, owner of Susan Rogan Hearing in La Grange Park and Westmont and a doctor of audiology, says how to get anyone to listen to reason is the golden question.
"No one ever comes into my office and requests hearing aids," she says.
With 1 in 10 adults with hearing impairment only 1 percent will choose to correct their hearing, Rogan says.
Rogan says it is typically seven years from the time concerns about hearing loss are mentioned to the time someone will have their hearing checked.
John Ellis, 62, says for about two years his wife and children were always on his case saying 'dad, you can't hear anything.'
Ellis says at first he didn't want to admit his hearing was getting worse.
"A lot of it was pride," he admits.
Diagnosing a problem and finding a solution seems like an obvious equation, but for most it isn't that simple.
Gorbien says people of all ages delay health care but for different reasons. Some are too busy and can't take time off work or are busy raising their children, but it's much more private when you are 50 years old.
"It's more common to be involved in someone's health care as they age," he says.
Gorbien says among reasons for not seeking health care is fear of the unknown or what a doctor might find.
In cases where there is memory or hearing loss, Gorbien says the person may not even be aware of problems that are noticeable to concerned observers.
He says older adults may also be getting information from sources that aren't reliable.
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