Taking Care of a Difficult Elderly Parent
A difficult elderly parent has a behavioral condition that is deep rooted in the human tendency to feel wanted. For most parents, generally, life has always centered around bringing up their children. When the children grow up to be adults and begin to lead their own independent lives, parents often begin to feel insecure regarding their purpose for the rest of their life. In addition to the mental stress of not being “wanted” by the child anymore, parents often find themselves in age-related conditions that aggravate their anxieties. They are unable to instantly cope with these anxieties. There’s a certain amount of guilt and stress that comes with accepting the fact that their children would now also be caregivers.
Ways to Deal With a Difficult Elderly Parent
We can add a dash of sentiment here and end the matter with one statement. Your parents took care of you, raised you from when you were a helpless baby and made you what you are today. So it is only fair that you develop infinite patience and bear with them in every way no matter how difficult they get. Well, it does seem to be the logical reason why you should put every effort into caring for your parents but you do not live in a time and age, where parents can become the absolute center of your lives. Mostly likely, you have a family of your own, issues of your own and a job that you have to hold on to among a multitude of other responsibilities. It is therefore, necessary to have a coping strategy in place while dealing with a difficult elderly parent.
- Communicate: Regular and genuine communication will make your parents feel secure and you will come across as being very approachable. Go for family outings as often as you can with them or arrange for them to be around other loved ones if you cannot. Inquire about their health on a regular basis. If you’re at work most of the time, ensure to call your parents regularly and keep in touch. Remember, that these conversations need not be very long. It’s just a gesture to let them know they mean a lot to you.
- Learn to Negotiate: Situations where you used your persuasion skills to arrive at a win-win scenario are great examples of stepping out of your comfort zone and giving in to certain demands of others (sometimes total strangers) while standing your ground on certain other terms. Well, if anything, parents are much more precious and negotiation could be an effective way to bring both of you on the same page. Adopt this technique each time your parent makes unreasonable demands. Ensure that you keep your promises.
- Set Boundaries: Your parents need to know your other priorities. Sit with them down over a casual conversation and give them subtle hints about important things you need to do over the next few days, which might keep you away from them. It is always better to let them know in advance, whenever possible, instead of surprising them by suddenly taking off on an official tour or any other engagement where you’ll be gone for a long while.
- Compensate for Your Absence: If you anticipate that you’ll not be available for quite some time, invite a close relative to keep your parents company while you’re gone. Again, this will demonstrate to them that although you need to be away, you also care about their well-being. Such thoughtful acts go down very well with elderly parents and they will not be driven to attention-seeking behavior.
- Appreciate their Contributions and Show Respect: If your parents provide any kind of help such as financial contribution or help around with domestic chores (like picking up kids from school, running errands, etc.), ensure that you recognize their effort and appreciate them. Taking elderly parents for granted can often backfire and they are left feeling “used”.
- Extend Tender Loving Care: Elderly parents might fall ill frequently or suffer from health issues due to the onset of old age. They may require constant medication and caregiving. Be sensitive to their condition and do not make them feel obligated in any way. During episodes of sickness, they may become irritable and argumentative. Try not to respond by flying into a rage and recounting the things you’re doing for them. This will only escalate tensions and parents might end up feeling hostile although you have really tried your best to care for them.
Do not simply approach your difficult parent with a dutiful attitude, try to reach out to them and make a place in their heart for yourself all over again. Chances are that they will place you on a pedestal and feel proud, all over again. Difficult or otherwise, parents are not going to be around forever. So go on and build the bridges to their hearts and make great memories to remember them by. Hope the above tips along with some patience and love will help you cope with your difficult elderly parent.
Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today! If you live in Franklin or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.