How to Cope with Aging Parents

Dealing with Difficult Elderly Parents

As your parents get older, their needs get more intensive, which can add a lot of stress to your already busy life. Coping with elderly parents can be hard, especially when you have your own responsibilities to take care of. You love your parents—but you might not always know how to get them the care they need as they age.

We understand how challenging it is to provide aging parents with everything they need. It’s normal to feel anxious or even frustrated when you and your parents aren’t on the same page. Take a look at a few of these tips we’ve gathered for dealing with difficult elderly parents:

How to Cope with Aging Parents

1. Decide What Matters are Most Important

When you’re dealing with difficult parents, it’s important to choose your battles wisely. Not every problem is worth fighting over, so it’s crucial to differentiate between the matters that truly need to be addressed and the matters that are worth compromising on.

2. Try to Understand What’s Behind Abnormal Behavior

Rather than focusing on your own anger in difficult situations with your parents, try to identify the motivation behind their actions. When you try to understand your parents, you might find that their behavior is actually a result of something deeper.

3. Find an Outlet for Your Stress

Confide in your friends, siblings, or even a care manager to relieve your stress about your parentsis a great tactic for coping with elderly parents. It’s important to have a clear head when you interact with your parents, and having an outlet for your stress will keep you from taking your anger out on them.

4. Set Boundaries

Especially if your parents can’t always control their behavior, it’s necessary for you to decide how much bad behavior is excusable and whether or not a line needs to be drawn. Having a clear understanding of what you will and won’t tolerate will make dealing with difficult parents a bit less overwhelming because you’ll know when to step back.

5. Know Your Own Limitations

One of the most crucial things to remember when coping with elderly parents is that it’s okay for you to say, “No.” You can’t always change your parents’ minds, convince them to act differently, or solve their problems—so it’s important to know your limitations and call for help when you need it.

6. Limit Your Involvement in Caregiving

When coping with aging parents becomes too much, it’s time to look for outside help. Simple solutions like in-home caregivers or assisted living facilities will give you the opportunity to step back from difficult situations and love your parents without having to be their primary caregiver.

7. Plan Ahead

Your parents won’t be able to live alone forever—and if they’re stubborn or difficult, it won’t be easy to convince them to change their lifestyle. Planning for the future allows your parents to be a part of the process as you make arrangements for them as they age.

Is a Retirement Community Right for Your Parent?

When you’re dealing with difficult elderly parents, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. At the end of the day, all you want to do is love them and provide them the best care possible—even when it’s hard. As you care for your aging parents, remember that there are plenty of resources available to help you out along the way.

Retirement communities often provide health services options for people who need them. This gives you and your parents some space, while still offering you peace of mind in knowing that your parents are being cared for. If a retirement community is a logical next step for your parents, you can start the process by finding some communities near you!