If you think that your aging parents are getting more and more stubborn by the day, you’re not alone. Most caregiver-relatives feel that their folks never care to listen to their advice, especially those pieces of advice that concern their safety and well-being. At risk for slips and falls, but Mom and Dad move into a new three-story house with a yard and pool. Not able to keep up with the medicine intake, yet they refuse to have a home health aide. It’s frustrating to be in this situation. You see the need and reach out to help, but you cannot do so fully. If you find yourself in this dilemma, here are some communication strategies that you can try:
Talk to them as adults
One mistake a lot of caregivers do when discussing matters with their parents is treating them as kids who need all the monitoring and care in the world. When you do this, they become more combative. They get more insistent of what they want precisely because they’re asserting independence — the very thing they perhaps feel like losing as they age. While your folks may seem unreasonable, almost childish, in their decisions, communicate to them as adults. This will change a lot of things, believe it or not.
Before, your approach was to impose the need for the home health aide. Now, you should ask them if they want to consider getting such. Before, you would tell them the unsafe consequences of their actions. Now, you should find out their motives for doing this and that. When you treat them as equals, you have a far better shot at being listened to.
Give them options
Aside from having an adult-to-adult open discussion with your folks, you should be able to give them options as well. This also makes them feel like they’re in control over their decisions. When having someone at their home to do chores, let them pick the schedule of the cleanup. Do they prefer the aide coming in in the morning or in the afternoon? When taking their medicine, do they want it during or after meals?
This principle is most important for matters that need to be done but don’t feel like doing. For instance, when introducing the possibility of going to a retirement home in Ogden, ask them if they want a facility close to nature or something that offers a lot of social activities. They probably don’t want to go to such facility, but you’re giving them a choice that they would want to be invested in.
Bring a human touch
If your dad doesn’t want to do things for their own good, maybe he can do it for someone else? They probably will find it compelling to stop smoking in the house if you explain to them how secondhand smoke harms the kids’ health. They might just go visit their doctors, take the medicine, and eat healthy food if you share how your children want to spend more time with them. They probably will agree to move to a nursing home if they realize it’s what’s going to calm your anxiety.
Now, you know some of the communication strategies that you can use to talk to your stubborn parents. Remember that you can be successful in your efforts only if you extend great patience with your folks. Before you open your mouth and start a conversation, take on that important attitude.