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strategies deal with difficult seniors

Caring for stubborn senior parents can be challenging––especially when they are reluctant to accept help and resist to change. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the role reversal, take heart ––there are steps you can take to ensure healthy dialogue and a positive relationship with your aging parents.


1. Understand your parents’ emotional struggles.

Caring for elderly parents isn’t only a logistical challenge; it can also involve a lot of emotional energy. Recognize that your parents want to maintain their independence as long as possible. In addition, understand that there may be fear and anxiety associated with aging in place and losing control over life decisions. Keeping this in mind will help you empathize with their hesitation and frustration, allowing for productive conversations about future care arrangements without unnecessary tension or stress.

2. Set boundaries and stick to them.

Setting boundaries with difficult senior parents can prevent further conflict and help maintain a positive family dynamic. These boundaries should ensure that both parties’ needs are met while leaving a room for compromise. Respect your parents’ autonomy and encourage open communication so they feel heard, affirmed, and comfortable when discussing their future care plans. It’s important to remember that although you are responsible in providing care for your elderly parents, your health and well-being are the priority.

3. Equally validate both sides of the conversations.

Develop a compassionate stance when talking to your elderly parents. Remind them of your unconditional love and respect for their wisdom while also forging an understanding that you are their son or daughter and that your concerns are valid. This way, you can help encourage healthy dialogue and mutual understanding. In addition, it will promote a more positive family relationship by validating both sides of the conversation.

4. Offer solutions instead of criticism or rebukes.

Sometimes, it is challenging to keep the conversation positive when talking to stubborn senior parents. Instead of criticizing their behaviour or rebuking them for their choices, offer solutions they can consider. Ask direct questions and try to agree on the best action to take in a given situation. This approach minimizes internal conflict within the family and shows respect between both parties by demonstrating your willingness to work as a team.

5. Increase accessibility and inclusion for family activities.

When organizing family activities, ensure everyone is given equal opportunities to participate. Show your senior parents that you care by finding activities and tasks suitable for their physical limitations or mental health circumstances. Additionally, focus on involving everyone in the conversation regardless of age and discuss potential compromises that could make everyone happy. This way, you can ensure the family members feel included and respected. 

If you need the help of an in-home caregiver to make things easier for you, your parents, and the rest of the family, contact Surework Home Care Solutions.

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