Looking after a loved one who is progressing in age can be challenging. This is even more so if you are dealing with stubborn parents. We love our parents and want the best for them, but sometimes when we don’t see eye to eye with them, it is a challenge for us to manage both our parents’ physical and emotional needs. If you find it hard to handle a stubborn parent who refuses to hear you out, read on to find out how you can better care for and communicate with your loved one.
Understand Why They Are Obstinate
Have you ever thought about why your parents are acting this way? Although obstinacy is a common trait among people in the older generation, every person’s stubbornness stems from different reasons.
Fear and Stress
Your parents may be feeling frustrated with themselves because their bodies can no longer do the things that they used to be able to do easily. They may feel that they’ve lost their independence as they need to rely on other people to carry out activities of daily living. Issues that may contribute to their fear and stress include incontinence, mobility issues, or trouble with sleep.
In the face of these limitations, some people may lose their temper with their caregivers, while some will stubbornly go against any advice given and try to retain as much control as they can over their lives.
Older adults may also face problems with their memory, such as having difficulty remembering events or information. Many may refuse to admit that they cannot remember and often fill in details of their own, thinking that they are accurate. This poses a problem for caregivers, as it makes communication difficult and often results in conflict.
Memory issues can be more significant for some people than others. If your parent has memory-related conditions like dementia, their obstinacy can manifest in other forms such as refusing to sleep at night. Seniors with dementia may be harder to handle, so caregivers may need to be professionally trained to care for them.
Tips for Dealing with Your Stubborn Parents
As a caregiver, it can be hard to balance caring for your parents and having an amicable relationship with them in the process. Here are some tips for dealing with your stubborn parents:
- Improve communication: The first step is to encourage open communication. Be an active listener and empathize with any concerns your parents may have. Always seek and respect their opinions before implementing any changes to their routine. In your conversations, it would also be great to avoid the use of imperatives like “you should” to avoid coming off as controlling.
- Compromise: In certain cases, some changes to your parents’ routines may be necessary but your parents are vehemently against them. You might be able to convince them by reaching a compromise. Compromises are great as solutions as they take into account your parents’ wants and allow them to retain some form of control over themselves and the decision-making process.
- Be persistent: It can sometimes take a while to convince your parents that what you are proposing is beneficial for them. When dealing with your parents on these topics, enter the talk with the expectation that one conversation won’t cut it. You have to be patient and bring up your suggestions and concerns over a series of chat sessions.
- Wait for the right timing: Timing is important. Your parents may be more receptive to what you have to say or suggest on days when they are feeling relaxed.