Your parents have taken care of you, loved you and supported you since your birth. Now that they are elderly, you want to care for them. This is especially true if you notice health problems early on or if you suspect burgeoning signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your parents, however, may not feel they need your assistance.
Many adults prefer to live independently for as long as they possibly can; your parents are no exception. What do you do when they simply won’t listen, even though you have their best interests, and a healthy future, in mind?
Here are 8 tips we’ve compiled to help you work with your parents when they won’t listen to your advice.
- Treat Them Like the Adults They Are
You don’t have to support every decision, especially if that decision or behavior is self-destructive or dangerous, but you must realize that your parents are adults. If they are capable of making decisions on their own, they should be allowed that freedom, no matter how much you disagree with it.
- Try to Understand Where They Are Coming from
No one wants to be told what to do or when to do it, and if your parents have always been fiercely independent, they may attempt to do so whether they are physically and mentally able to or not. In this circumstance, you may need to solicit outside help, either via their personal physician or other family members.
- Talk with an Outside Party For Your Own Sake
Talk to a good friend, a neutral family member, or try to find a therapist to help talk through your emotions and worries, or someone to vent your frustrations to. Sometimes someone outside the immediate family and outside the situation can help you find solutions you may have never considered previously.
- Think Ahead
Do your homework anyway so that if an when things happen that leave you with no choice but to move your parents into a care facility, or you must have them hospitalized, you have an action plan and people you can turn to for help. The more prepared you are now, the smoother the transition will be when the time comes.
- Pick Your Battles
Sometimes, with aging parents, the best plan may be to ignore minor or inconsequential behaviors and only concentrate on more serious or dangerous situations.
- Blame It On the Kids
Yes, that would be you. Tell your parents you are discussing these options because you are worried about them, you care about them, and you love them, and you only want what is best for them.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Sometimes all you can do is sit back and watch what happens. Hope for the best, but always expect, and be prepared for, the worst. For some people, an emergency is the wake-up call they need, while others simply never change their behavior. If you have done your best, there’s nothing to feel guilty about.
- Accept the Situation
No matter what you do or say, some people will only do what they want to, regardless of the consequences. It hurts, and it makes you feel powerless, but sometimes the best action is inaction.
We hope these tips help you if you find yourself facing this situation.