Are your Elder Parents stubborn when you try to help and guide them? Is this aggravating and frustrating, not to mention leaving them at risk? Learn ways to understand them better or accept their position.

stubborn elder parentsThere are emotional and psychological reasons why people resist common sense suggestions and don’t make any changes. Denial is a big part of it, as is fear of what will be and of a loss of independence. The irony is that some adjustments will help them to remain independent, safer and comfortable.  Topics may range from relocation, giving up driving, putting in grab bars in the shower and many more. You can be forceful, just suggest or leave them expert information – the choice is theirs to act or ignore. Many of these things fall to Boomers in the Sandwich Generation who quickly learn; your sphere of influence differs greatly from your children and with your parents.

Experts offer some tips – these are for folks who do NOT have dementia or cognitive impairment, but seem to be just stubborn.

1- Even though some roles have changed between you and your parents, they remain adults and cannot be treated or face the consequences of children. Adult are autonomous.

2 – Are they lifelong stubborn, is it their habit or  are they depressed, confused,  fearful of what lies ahead, illness, loss of independence?

3 – Choose your confrontations. If it isn’t a safety, health or financial issue, it may be irritating but not of great consequence.

4 – Leverage their feelings of not “wanting to be a burden to their children”. Let them know how  doing such and such will give them greater peace of mind,  say, Please do it for me and … They may change some behaviors or accept some form of help if it helps someone else, maybe a sibling or a grandchild…. like maybe giving up driving for the sake of someone other than themselves.

5 – If there is a family milestone coming up that they wish to attend — bring it up to them. Emphasize how important it is to the family for them to be able to participate and attend.

6 – Address, ask, conjole but no need to vent to your parent. They already aren’t on board with your suggestions. Consult professionals such as a Geriatric Care Manager, Social Worker, Therapist, friend or a Support Group.

7- At some point, you just can only lead a mule to water – you have to accept the situation. Some people you can prevent from falling, and others you can only help back up.  Ultimately, it is their choice and decision, even if they are poor ones. This is very hard to do, but you can’t control their choices and behaviors, only your own.

8 – Be kind to YOURSELF. If you have been honest with your parents in sharing your point of view, how it affects you and what you hope for, then there is not much more to do to change their minds. Sometimes people have to experience the consequences of their choices before they will either make a change or change will be forced upon them.

It is very hard to see the ramifications of safety issues, mostly due to health or financial issues and know how to prevent something bad from occurring. Sure hiring an aide can help with safety, nutrition,  transportation etc  but, STOP beating your head against their wall of refusal. They are in charge of this, no matter how much it effects you and your schedule.  Set boundaries. Let them know when you are available and when you are not. Just be ready to act should the status quo change abruptly. For more information or to consult with our Geriatric Care Manger, contact Paradise Home Health Care.