Why Seniors Won’t Listen to Their Adult ChildrenMartin and his brother have grown frustrated with their widowed mother. She still lives in the family’s two-story home but struggles to navigate the stairs every day, plus keep up with the yardwork. The brothers are trying to convince their mother to move to the nearby assisted living or to accept in-home assistance. However, she is being very stubborn and will not listen, even after suffering a few close calls to her health and safety.

The dynamics between senior parents and adult children often mean that it’s hard for the older person to take advice from the younger. Many parents are in denial that they are aging and may need some help. In the meantime, the adult children are frustrated and worried about proper elderly care. When communication is at its lowest, both parties often resort to nagging, yelling or threats. However, family caregivers can take some steps to opening up the door to better communication when they figure out why seniors won’t listen to their adult children.

Loss of Independence and Fear of Aging

The main reasons why elderly parents don’t listen to their adult children when it comes to care is because they don’t want to face the reality of their own limitations. Many elderly adults are too proud to admit they aren’t doing well or they don’t want to look weak to friends and family. It’s hard to accept the realities associated with aging. Still others may not like the idea of living with strangers or being on someone else’s schedule. Finally, any major change is uncomfortable, so it’s human nature to resist it for as long as possible.

When adult children stop to think about the emotions behind why their elderly parents are resisting help, they may be able to find a better approach.

Some Ideas to Boost Communication

There are several approaches that adult children can use to talk to their aging parent about some elderly care. First, they need to assess their true needs as opposed to what the kids think their parent needs. Does the senior just need some help in the mornings with bathing and grooming, plus light housework? Are they no longer able to drive but can take care of themselves fairly well? Or do they need consistent companionship during the day? Being realistic about the kind of assistance needed may help the elderly person not feel as if their entire life and independence are being threatened.

Getting input from other trusted adults can also help sway a stubborn elderly parent. For example, perhaps one of their friends has a home care assistant that helps them out. They may be in a better position to share the benefits directly. Input from doctors, clergy, other relatives, therapists and friends can sometimes get the point across when adult children cannot.

It’s important for adult children to be persistent without nagging. Eventually, elderly parents will realize that it’s time to accept help, or they will have a serious enough scare that they make the choice themselves. With love, encouragement and respectful, adult children and their aging parents can arrive at a solution.




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