5 Tips for Dealing with Stubborn Aging Parents

The aging process is a difficult transition for many – especially those with stubborn aging adults in their life. Not being able to perform tasks or enjoy activities you once loved can be hard to understand and cope with.

However, there comes a time in every human’s life that they must listen to their body and begin to slow down. 

Whether it be to get extra help around your house, or giving up your drivers license, or to get extra assistance when running errands – the time comes for everyone to have to make life adjustments.

During this transition period, it is easy for aging adults to grow agitated, stressed out, or frustrated. You will face many of the same emotions as an adult child as well. 

However, it is important to remember that in some form or another,  your parents need your help and they appreciate your help – although they may not express it.

If you are in this situation, here are some helpful tips on how to deal with stubborn aging parents:

Understand their motivation

When dealing with stubborn aging parents it is important to understand their point of view. Although we have not been through the experience ourselves it is important to show grace and empathy as they begin their aging journey. 

It is a difficult transition to begin losing your independence as your body or mind begins to deteriorate. Although they may not always communicate those frustrations effectively, know they are trying their best to cope with the life changes and that they may just require a little extra patience from you.

Visit them and spend quality time with them

If your aging parents do not live with you but are close by, make an effort to visit them as much as possible. Though it may be time consuming at times, they will appreciate the effort and time you spend together. 

Instead of only visiting when they need help, try to spend quality time talking about things that are important to them as these will be the conversations and memories you recall even after they are gone. 

When aging adults do not feel connected to their family or community, they can develop mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It is sometimes hard for them to admit they are lonely, or they may feel like a burden when they call you, so be proactive and visit when you can.

Compromise is key!

Sometimes your aging parent will express desires that their mind or body might no longer allow them to do. It is okay. 

Listen to their concerns and validate how they might be feeling. Although it may not be possible, try to accommodate as best you can while still keeping their safety and comfort as the number one priority.  When they hear your point of view, it may help ease their stubborn behaviours.

Allowing them to feel independent is important so consider compromising in certain areas when you can. There are simple ways to compromise and make them feel like they are contributing – maybe you can help accomplish tasks with them instead of just doing these tasks for them.

Prepare for future conversations

Recognize good moments within yourself and your aging parents to have difficult conversations. Aging is not a simple journey, and oftentimes peoples’ opinions as well as health risks change over time. 

Make sure to hear out the thoughts, opinions, and expectations of your loved ones as they age. Be sure to express your own concerns and worries in a calm way and have the difficult conversations early-on so it is less stressful for everyone involved.

Treat your aging parents like adults

Aging has a huge effect on your physical ability as well as your cognitive ability. Although your parents may be aging and changing – it is important that you remember they are still your parents. 

Although it can be frustrating and stressful at times, it is important to treat them as you would any other human being, which means paying them the respect they deserve and not just bossing them around. Show them the same respect you wish to receive in return.

Let us know if you find these tips helpful when it comes to caring for stubborn aging adults. Comment below if you have any suggestions for our readers about how to better care for aging loved ones in your life and let’s connect!

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honours.”

Tia Walker, The Inspired Caregiver
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