3 Very Important Tips for When Aging Parents Won’t Take Your Advice

According to a study conducted at Penn State University, nearly 80% of adult children feel their aging parents are too stubborn to take their advice, especially when it comes to getting help with activities of daily living or moving to an assisted living community.

Mary Heitger-Marek, a program analyst from Maryland, found herself feeling similar to the study’s participants when here aging parents, who were living in a condo in Florida, refused to take her advice when she suggested they move to a nearby assisted living community. Mary’s parents had ongoing health problems and their condo had steep stairs. They had also fallen several times while walking their dog and both required multiple surgeries because of it. However, they insisted they were fine and did not need to hire help for themselves or move to an assisted living community.

 “My parents’ life decisions have greatly impacted me and I am very resentful,” says Heitger-Marek. “I love my mother, but I am at my wit’s end. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my husband and I have suggested options to improve my parents’ quality of life and they have turned us down.”

Aging Parents Won’t Listen? Here’s What to Do

Blame yourself or the grandkids. It may sound counterproductive, but if your parent isn’t willing to make changes for themselves, they may be willing to do it for a loved one. Robert Kane, M.D, Director of the Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota, says his mother quit smoking after his sister argued that second-hand smoke was harmful to the grandkids. Another approach is to tell your aging parents that taking your advice will give you enormous peace of mind and ask, “Please do it for me.”

Pick your battles wisely. If you’re angry that Dad’s not eating enough vegetables or Mom watches too much reality TV, you may be met with more resistance than if you were concerned with the fender bender they caused recently because of their failing eyesight. When offering advice to aging parents, be sure not to knit-pick or focus on every little thing they could be doing better. You’ll be met with less resistance if you voice your concerns as they pertain to your parents’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

Treat them like the adults they are. “Dealing with a stubborn parent is not the same as dealing with a stubborn child. Older people should be autonomous,” said Dr. Kane from the Center on Aging. Adults, including your aging parents, have the right to make their own decisions, even if they are poor ones.

If you’re fortunate enough to have aging parents who readily accept your advice, Grand Oaks of Okeechobee is an ideal assisted living community to recommend. We also provide respite care, which is a temporary stay at our assisted living community. While here on respite, aging parents can experience our top-notch amenities and healthcare, which is helpful when faced with the often difficult decision to move to an assisted living community.  

For more information or to schedule a complimentary tour of Grand Oaks of Okeechobee, call 863-692-722 or visit www.grandoaksokeechobee.com.