Many older adults fear the unknown as they ponder the future implications of serious medical conditions that might threaten their independence. For reasons like pride and control, those same seniors become secretive about their health and stop listening to their own children. When placed in this role-reversal situation, watching your parents make risky decisions can be frustrating and even agonizing at times. Thankfully, getting through to your aging parents is possible by taking these steps.
Why Aren’t Mom and Dad Listening?
If your elderly parents are like most, because they have made it through life perfectly fine on their own, they don’t like taking advice from their kids. Anytime there’s a disagreement between you and your parents about their declining health, old family conflicts and roles can resurface. As frustrations mount, you may find yourself sliding back into a role last displayed when you were still living with them.
You may even feel resentful by perceiving a long-standing pattern of poor decisions or unhealthy behaviors on your parents’ part. Disputes that appear to be about things like long-term care or moving to a smaller place are often about deeper, more serious issues. Pride, denial and control issues oftentimes disrupt the communication process between aging parents and their adult children.
How to Get Your Voice Heard
Convincing stubborn parents to listen to you about their healthcare needs may help them enjoy a higher quality of life. Here are some ways to get your voice heard without coming across as being pushy:
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t set yourself up to fail by expecting everything to get resolved in one sitting. You will probably have to voice your concerns numerous times to your parents without them perceiving that they are losing control of the conversation. Practice both patience and persistence, especially if your loved one has dementia or is hard-of-hearing.
Show your respect
Your parents have earned your respect over the years so don’t lose sight of that fact. Practice restraint during your conversations while always remembering that lecturing or being critical isn’t going to work. After all, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!
Timing is everything
If you try to approach your parents on days when they are feeling anxious or depressed, your conversation will just put them on the defensive. Try speaking with them in a nonthreatening setting like a family picnic or birthday party. That advice also goes for you, as having a serious talk when you are stressed out is only going to ratchet up everyone’s anxiety level even further.
Ask open-ended questions
Instead of doing all the talking, another good approach is asking open-ended questions. Use questions that draw your parents into a meaningful conversation. For example, say something like: “Why don’t you want anyone to help you with chores?” Doing so may cause them to reflect upon their current situation. As a result, they may conclude that accepting help may be in their best interests.
Spend more time together
As aging adults become frail, they tend to appreciate more attention. Although your time may be in short supply, try spending more of it with your parents. Your interactions will probably become more harmonious and productive if they know that you are prioritizing your relationship instead of squeezing it into a busy schedule.
Enlist the support of others
If your parents are still being stubborn it may be time to enlist the support of others, like siblings, a faith leader, geriatric care manager or close family friend. If all else fails, share your concerns with their doctor and ask them to add their “two cents” worth. Sometimes hearing the truth from trusted outsiders is all it takes to get stubborn parents to stop tuning you out!
Affordable In-Home Assistance for Manatee County Seniors
Once you’ve convinced your aging parents to accept help around the home, contact First In Care. We’ll take care of the rest. As a fully licensed and insured home care provider, our reliable professionals stand ready to deliver the nurturing that your loved ones deserve. While using a proven process that maintains your loved one’s self-esteem, dignity and independence our compassionate caregivers can provide services like personal care, respite care, dementia care, companionship care, medication reminders and transportation.
For your added convenience and peace of mind we offer flexible programs and affordable rates. We even accept long-term care insurance and V.A. payments! To learn more now about our family trusted senior home care services in Manatee County, FL, please visit First In Care at: www.firstincare.com.