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how to deal with stubborn aging parents

then no guardianship will be established and the family must find other ways to deal with the issues facing the aging parent. There are a lot of reasons for this. It’s important on the other hand to figure out the reasons behind this behavior. It’s a mix of deteriorating abilities, medical problems, and having to deal with the changing circumstances related to old age. Facebook or Instagram can allow your aging parent to view pictures of the grandchildren or great-grandchildren without having to post updates themselves. There are many quotes about caring and dealing with getting older father mother, but the original coping with them heals their depression. It can be a dangerous thing to reject since a professional caretaker could do more for them. There are ways to improve your communication skills and to adjust them to your parents and their condition and you should make an effort to do just that. It’s rather difficult to get your parents to deal with this problem and that’s where professional help may be needed the most. Sometimes, the key to handling difficult parents is to improve your own stress management techniques and coping skills. Now, I'm in the advice and conflict resolution field, focused on issues about aging and aging parents. This abuse can lead to a variety of health problems including: This can be prevented and stopped if the problem is noticed on time and dealt with using the help and knowledge of a professional. Dealing with an aging and increasingly difficult and stubborn parent can be stressful and challenging. These groups can offer encouragement as well as share resources and ideas to make caregiving easier. I can take care of myself. This is a deliberate process and it takes time until you’re able to do so in a way that will save your relationship with your parents and help them deal with aging in the process. However, there’s no intentionality there and that’s just how an elderly person feels. Notice that the statement you start with is about YOU the adult child. Some of them are psychological and others are physical and are often a symptom of a different disease. In a lot of cases, the elderly are losing their autonomy and a sense of having control over their lives. As much as 6 percent of all the elderly whit the age of over 60 have some sort of mental illness or at least what’s called a diminished mental capacity. Maybe it's just about all of us middle aged folks getting older ourselves. Research done in this regard shows that there’s a clear link between depression and anger, with feelings of depression oriented inwards and anger towards the outside world. That's why our reasonable, logical explanations of what we want them to do fall on deaf ears. It’s similar to anger in its origin and effects, but unlike anger, it’s passive in nature. Helping Mom is a big part of our lives. However, if you’re aware of it, the tasks ahead of you will seem easier and more manageable. It’s easy to assume that as our parents age, they are going to remain basically the same person. It’s their money and they can spend it as they choose. But like almost any conflict, learning how to deal with stubborn aging parents can help ensure better outcomes for everyone involved. I've been through this myself with my 93 year old mother in law, Alice,who finally came around. The question, therefore, remains: how do you deal with stubborn aging parents without letting their new reality affect your relationship and without putting them in danger. I have always loved working with older people, probably because I had this amazing grandmother. Understanding their point of view and reasons that motivate their behavior isn’t to say that they should indulge in them, but it gives a basis for the relationship to change and not get damaged by the anger, arguing, and other conflicts that might come up. As anyone who has had a conversation like this knows, using a logical approach and pointing out what's wrong with your parent gets you nowhere. Be sure to do the chores that are assigned to you. That way you can be ready to visit a hospital without having to prepare them for it. Acknowledge that you still want your parent to be in complete control over the decision about hiring anyone. This isn't safe. Aging parents can be difficult for a variety of reasons. My husband, Dr. Mikol Davis, a geriatric psychologist, and I put our efforts together at AgingParents.com & AgingInvestor.com. Many parents find this to be damaging to their relationship with their children since they feel as if they have been passed on to an outsider. Alcohol abuse is also more common amongst seniors than you might believe. Sometimes you may find your parents to be difficult, even impossible, and working to their own detriment. By listening to their fears, desires and needs you may be in a better position to speak to them and reason with them. The first thing you need to do is to learn the accept the new reality. A lot of the time an elderly person may require outside caregiver in order to provide full time and long term support. Don’t hesitate to use this type of help when it’s available to you since it can mean a lot in providing you with the infrastructure and knowledge needed to deal with an aging and stubborn parent. It’s not enough to say “you must exercise” or “the doctor said you need to exercise”. Leaving the space open for the parents to decide on their own doesn’t mean that you should put them at risk. Obviously, it can be rather damaging to their health and even fatal in some cases. Aging itself will require the parents to adapt and to switch their routine and fear of such changes can lead them to rebel. I'm fine. Another problem that may arise due to old age and the increase in this stubborn behavior of an elderly person is that they just won’t see a specialist. The way you talk is the key to having a productive and problem-solving dialog with an aging parent. It’s the term used to describe the misuse of medication prescribed by a doctor. She was a nurse and inspired me to be one, too. It’s something to address and for the most part, it’s best to have a medical professional specialized in depression to help you out with dealing with it. It’s much better and more effective if you make it personal and put it in actionable terms. Some of them aren’t pleasant for neither the parent nor for anyone in their surroundings. 2021 FM 1092 (Murphy Road) It can be a symptom of depression and a sign that an elderly person has let themselves go and isn’t able to take care of themself anymore. A good example of this can be the practice of setting up a “go bag” for your parent that may need to be admitted to a hospital even if they refuse medical care. Death Wish: Dealing with A High-Maintenance Aging Parent... and dealing with your guilt for feeling that way. MISSOURI CITY When your emotions threaten to overwhelm you, find an understanding friend or another family member to whom you can voice your complaints…or join a support group for children of aging parents. Sacrificing our sanity for the sake of caregiving is not the best choice. Feel free to comment! There are instances when problems with a stubborn elderly parent can’t be solved just by their children and when they need to be passed on a professional who can help. Is your aging parent really difficult? If your parents see you working hard they might be more likely to not be so stubborn, which will lead to less fighting. You should talk to the people who have had similar problems with their loved ones and try to learn from their experience. Awareness is a great place to begin, but if you have toxic parents, what you really want … Caregivers may also have to change they way they think and their habits to be more successful in working with elderly parents. Listening to your aging parents (even though they may not be listening to you) is a very important part of dealing with stubborn people, whether they are elderly or not. Communicate your worries to your parent, and explain how your anxieties will be tempered if he or she follows your advice. The population of that age will double by the year 2050. A lot of the time it’s the kids that need to answer the question of how do you deal with stubborn aging parents without damaging your relationship. It will also help you understand their perspective and thus make the conflict much less emotional and less stressful. Fear of Loss of Control. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Even though their behavior may seem to be irrational and often to their own detriment, there’s always a reason behind the odd and stubborn behavior of the elderly. It’s another common symptom of diminished mental capacity and one that’s not that easy to catch. You're so stubborn!". Such a situation can often place significant strain on the relationship between a parent and their child. It’s essential not to pass judgment. How it sounds: Your elderly parent might tell you, “I’ll let you know when I need help.”Or they might say something like, “I don’t need you pushing me, thank you very much!” Suggested response: The aging process can feel overwhelming and uncontrollable, so it is common to see demanding parents dig in their heels to exert control in other areas of their lives. That means that dealing with the issue of diminished mental capacity becomes more of a public health problem. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation With Forbes Insights. It shows you’re in it together and it showcases the exact action you’ll take together. Distract parents who stubbornly refuses to brush their teeth. All of these could also lead to the elderly themselves being hurt, either by accident or on purpose, by someone who feels threatened by them. It’s therefore important to monitor your parents in terms of what their eating habits are and even be pushy about it when needed. Sometimes you’ll assume something that you believe to be obvious and simple. This is especially common with aging parents who are grieving. I'm a California girl, born and raised here, with an abiding interest in health issues and particularly, healthy aging. Many children feel that the last years that they had with their parents are often colored by this problem. This is a very common problem and many children of elderly parents have faced it before. Most of the problems that you’ll face when dealing with an aging parent are about communicating with them and explaining the new realities that they will have to confront. Sometimes seniors become more obstinate with age. To them, behaving in a difficult and stubborn manner is a way of maintaining that autonomy. This is because the medical problems are taking over a lot of their time and because they are becoming more fragile overall. You may have even had moments when you didn’t want to listen to what they had to say. The stresses affect you, and they affect me, too. Talking about the topics that the seniors are familiar with and that they understand is a way for them to relax and to put them at ease. I can see you're having a lot of trouble walking and I think you should get someone a few days a week. Life doesn't offer a lot more emotionally salient or complex than caring for an aging parent. It may lead to arguments and somewhat damage your relationship so you should try to create clear boundaries as soon as possible. The distractions can come about from talking in a large group, talking about too many things at once, or from taking in a setting that’s not suited to a calm conversation. That’s best done by providing them with alternatives in terms of their course of action. There are ones for both the seniors and their children and they could attend them both together and separately. This may prove to be more challenging than you may think since the elderly aren’t always coherent in their thought or language. It’s important to note the difference between the two major causes of this problem. Also, the first encounter with medical problems may leave them scared and thus cause them to seek reassurance by asking for your attention at all times. A simple act of trying to talk about this symptom will somewhat alleviate it. Often, though, the right approach makes all the difference in the response. They do have a right to manage their own finances, but if they are not competent (or you suspect cognitive decline), it is crucial to tackle this head on. The conversation might sound something like this: You:  "Mom/Dad, I think you ought to get someone in here to help you. It’s also a rather dangerous one and you shouldn’t give in no matter what. It’s also possible that there are medical reasons for the change in their behavior. You can also seek professional counseling that will help you make the most out of these difficult situations in a way that’s best for everyone involved. It can be done on purpose, in which case it’s a way of self-harming, or it can be done because a senior isn’t able to understand the guidelines set up by their doctors. Abuse of medication can mean a lot of different things. physical pain, and sometimes they are caused by psychological stress. It’s much worse if the abuse has happened on purpose. First of all, that helps your parents on an emotional level and especially so when they are going through a challenging time and have a lot to process. In these articles, you'll find help & support. It’s best if those aren’t your parents but someone else you’re close to, like a friend or another family member. Every elderly person is different in a way so brace yourself for the unexpected. Oh yes, I am the author of four books, "The Boomers Guide To Aging Parents," "The Family Guide To Aging Parents," "Working With Aging Clients: A Guide for Attorneys, Business and Financial Professionals," and "Succeed With Senior Clients: A Financial Advisors Guide To Best Practice." There will be a lapse in judgment on the part of your parent and sometimes their day to day reasoning may not be as it once was. Knowing these differences will allow you to pick your battles and leave your parent in control where they can be. This way you will not put as much strain on your relationship. Anger is the most common response from an elderly person losing control over their life or portions of it. It's sensible to do your research before the subject is introduced so you have information about the problem you want to solve before you bring this up. This isn’t only about the choice of words and the tone, but also about sentence structure and overall use of language in general. One of the ways to deal with stubborn aging parents is to prepare a protocol in case something goes wrong. That’s why it’s important to communicate directly and clearly and not to assume anything. These professionals will sometimes act as mediators and simply help you along when it comes to reaching a difficult decision and on other occasions, they can take a more active role in the whole process. That assumption means that many caregivers are shocked at the level of manipulative behavior in the elderly. In most cases, it’s the fear of the unknown and the fear of aging that leads to refusing medical help. You should also make sure to ask questions and to get clear responses in order to make sure that an elderly parent understands you. Empowering is mostly done by allowing the elderly to maintain their autonomy and to make the decisions on their own where ever that’s possible. Start with being direct and using simple language. You talk about something most parents don't ever want, which is to be a burden to their kids. What am I supposed to do? This is the least damaging problem you may come up against with your aging parent, but it’s also one that many are struggling with and that they find the most surprising. The effects that come about due to the physical changes your parents are experiencing will be the ones you’ll be able to accept more easily and with less stress and anger. You:  "Mom/ Dad, I'm worried. This is a common symptom of depression and it’s one of those rather challenging symptoms that makes itself worse as time goes by. It often happens when an elderly person is forced to deal with a medical regiment. Once you introduce a new plan or a new idea, you should give them time to consider it. Judging the quality of someone’s mental capacity isn’t always easy and it’s usually something that you can do better if you know a person for a long time. This is a skill and as is the case with any other skill, you’ll get better at it over time. That does, in turn, mean that your relationship with friends and other family members may be damaged as well, so you need to be careful and not allow yourself to overreact. The language you use needs to be personalized. The key to dealing with it is to start from the point of understanding and love. Knowing the reasons and the processes behind the problem could help you grapple with it in a more engaging way and, thus, be more proactive. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Why won't you listen to me?? Trying to return to the times when things were simpler and your parents were younger and healthier can be emotionally challenging and it can’t be helpful in any way. These small victories could, therefore, help you deal with stubborn parents on the issues that matter and that can harm them if not treated seriously. It’s best to look for clues that are a sign that things have gone too far. If your aging parents need help to stay safe and healthy, you might be unsure about how to handle the situation. Firstly, seniors may start abusing alcohol as a way to fight depression, loneliness, and other mental and psychological problems that they need to fight against. This can help with feelings of isolation. It’s important therefore to be aware that these changes are symptoms of a disease and to treat them as such. It can be frustrating to try and explain something that’s natural and simple to you. You describe it as your problem, not theirs. Old age is no pleasant thing and especially so when you’re losing your faculties and dealing with diminished mental capacities. There are many ways in which your parents will change in their old age. A mistake with medication intake can be fixed relatively easily. Pick your battles – If your aging parent has a lifelong habit you don’t like, and it’s not getting in the way of safety, forget it. It’s essential that you listen to your parents and that you pay attention to what they are saying. You describe what would make you feel better, like hiring a worker to assist with bathing or grocery shopping, etc. Here is an aging parents checklist which tells how to deal with stubborn aging blood relations. It's in your face. That’s often the most challenging part as well. If the car isn’t inspected before the end of the month, a cop will give you a very expensive reminder.” Place a few Post-it notes around — on the dashboard, fridge and bathroom mirror. That come with old age and some medical conditions term used to describe misuse... Be ready to visit a hospital without having to depend on others and that you should implement in communication. 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