Family Caregivers: Why Won’t My Parents Listen to Me?
A common experience among family caregivers is that parents will often ignore the advice of their children when it comes to receiving elder care. This can be an outright refusal of care to more day-to-day situations when receiving care. While it might be true that your parents may feel uncomfortable heeding the advice of their children, this kind disagreeableness may arise from many other factors. In today’s blog, we will help explain why you might be at odds with your aging parents, as well as strategies to help facilitate communication and to solve problems for their wellbeing and health.
You may be realizing that your mother or father’s health is declining, or you may notice that they are experiencing declines in their cognitive function or that they are physically less able than they were before. These are all valid concerns. But when you decide to suggest professional elder care services for them, you are met with anger, resistance, and frustration. What can you do?
While elderly parents absolutely have the right to deny help, a case can be made that having professional help can be in their best interest. Before you engage in an argument or increase your stress levels further, take a moment to read these tips to help facilitate communication.
Communicating with Elderly Parents
(1) Understand the motivations for their behavior: Remember that your parents are human and they are experiencing, first hand, the effects of aging. The effects of aging often cause a lot of fear of losing control, fear of change, decreased financial security, and other insecurities. People handle the realities of getting older in different ways. Sometimes, their resistance can be a result of their own personality. Other times, they are trying to maintain their previous independence levels because that’s what makes them feel normal. Maybe their behavior can stem from an underlying neurological disorder, like dementia, which can cause frustration or confusion. Take time to think about why your parents are acting the way they are and keep that in mind when responding to them.
(2) Have a plan: As opposed to suggesting something vague or general, like “Maybe we should hire a professional caregiver,” it might be better to have specific details. People often feel more uncomfortable about something the less they know about it. So doing your research, having a financial plan, knowing who to call and how it works, and so on can help alleviate a lot of the uncertainties and/or fears around receiving elder care.
(3) Use Yourself as An Excuse: This may seem manipulative, but it can be a successful approach in order to ensure your loved one’s overall health and safety. Instead of pointing out what’s wrong with your parent (e.g. “You can’t do this activity anymore.”, “You shouldn’t drive.”, “You might hurt yourself.”, etc.), say that you are the one with a problem of being overly anxious. In order to relieve “your” burden, maybe your parents can just try receiving some help around the house. Is this approach manipulative? Maybe. But if it works, it can really ensure the safety of your loved one if they really need professional caregiving.
(4) Ensure them they are not alone: While dealing with refusal is difficult, remembering Step (1) and ensuring your parents they are not alone can help develop respect and trust between you all.
If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit us on our website.