Posts tagged with "Anxious (34%) and afraid (31%)"

Alive and kicking: Why are seniors avoiding the doctor?

April 3, 2023

One in four seniors hates going to the doctor so much that he or she would rather sweat through a whole summer without air conditioning than visit a physician (27%), reports SWNS.

A survey of 2,000 people 64 and older, commissioned by ClearMatch Medicare and conducted by OnePoll, also has found that, rather than seeing their medical practitioners, seniors would let their spouse make all decisions in the home for a weekend (35%).

While many feel optimistic and calm when visiting the doctor (40%, each), one-third admitted they feel anxious (34%) and afraid (31%)—although they wouldn’t admit this to others in their lives (64%). What’s more, on an emotional level, 41% feel unheard or as if their doctor doesn’t care; while 38% are worried about hearing their doctor’s diagnoses/feedback.

Similarly, 35% have difficulty being vocal about their concerns, feeling like their doctor judges them for their eating habits (50%) or weight (48%).

Two in three respondents haven’t been to the doctor in over a year because they don’t like to, or because they can’t afford it (28%, each).

Indeed, to steer clear of a doctor’s office, other respondents said they’d:

  • Do the dishes immediately after they eat for a week (34%);
  • Talk to their least favorite relative for an evening (33%), or
  • Opt to live on a deserted island for three days (27%).

Costs play a large role since the lowest copayment the average senior remembers ever paying was around $38, but now each visit costs about $62, with half paying even more than this (49%).

What else makes seniors uncomfortable at the thought of going to the doctor? Many are still squeamish when it comes to bloodwork or vaccines, with more respondents agreeing they’d plan as many as possible on one day to get them over with, rather than space them out to have time in between (50% vs. 33%).

“Finding a doctor you trust can be an uncomfortable and even scary process,” explains ClearMatch Medicare (a part of HealthPlanOne) CEO, Ben Pajak. “When looking for a new Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to let your agent know you want a plan that includes your current doctors, to ensure your care is uninterrupted and provide you with peace of mind.”

Finding the right doctor is top of mind for the three in five who prioritize seeing someone they’re comfortable with, with the average senior needing to visit their doctor six times before they trust them.

Seniors also consider other factors when setting up an appointment, like preparing for what the doctor may find (59%) and the costs that will be associated with the visit (51%).

And seniors aren’t just avoiding their primary care doctor—seven in 10 haven’t been to the dentist in over a year (71%); and 57% have put off seeing a specialist, with cost being a top factor for both.

“No one should put off seeing their doctors, especially mature adults,” says HealthPlan Creative Director Lynn Cicchelli. “It’s important to find a Medicare plan that includes your doctors in-network to help keep costs down.”

Research contact: @SWNS