When Aging Parents Are Stubborn And Just Say No

pay-it-forwardToday we are so very lucky to live long, extended lives. However, as we age, there is often a point where the tables get turned and our Parents and Seniors that we love are in need of assistance, even while they are still able to live on their own. It is extremely hard to for them lose their independence and often will not admit they need help, or accept it when it is offered. If you can change the way you both are viewing and presenting a situation, the chances are you will have more success in getting beyond the impasse. Here are some ideas to consider:

What is the issue, and how important is it? If it regards their safety, you need to pursue a solution. If it’s something small, but irritating to you, it might be wise to decide to just let it go. Trade-offs from both sides may be the solution.

What’s the root of the issue? If you can determine the core of the problem, it may be easier to address. Are they afraid of something- how can you alleviate the fear, or is it your fear for them getting in the way? Is it about giving up independence- find a way they can retain some independence.  Are they depressed? Perhaps you need to seek out a support group or map out daily activities to help keep them occupied.

Use motivators to change the behavior. Use the following ideas as leverage. Is there an upcoming event, such as a wedding or graduation they want to attend? Can they make a change, if not for me, but for the grand kids? By putting a different spin on the behavior, such as when you don’t take your medication, it makes me constantly worried and stressed and I can’t sleep at night. If they see the behavior has larger consequences, it may change their attitude.

Find your own support. When you are angry or frustrated because your parents won’t comply, find someone to talk to, or vent to or make time to work out, take a yoga class or meditate. There are so many of us in the sandwich generation, if you’re feeling frustrated, most likely so are one of your friends. Or seek out a therapist, a geriatric care manager or even an online support group. It doesn’t help if our own personal frustration gets in the way of interacting. And sometimes, just recounting their escapades to someone else changes the mood when they point out just how funny the situation is in someone else’s eyes.

Accept Your Situation. While you can try to make changes, they are adults with decision making abilities, and you can’t win all the battles, even if their decisions aren’t always the best choice. Sometimes, you have to just stand by and watch, then jump in and bail them out. And when it comes to the time that they can no longer live on their own, we can help with a discussion on what are some of the possible options for finding a new home.

Do you have an example of an issue that you were able to switch around?