Elderly parents face dozens of challenges that can cause them to become irritable, irrational, or demanding. They may grieve getting older, experience chronic pain, or feel angry about changes to their finances, health, social circle, or living arrangements.
How To Lighten The Load When Dealing With Demanding Elderly Parents
While you primarily carry the load, consider ten tips for dealing with demanding elderly parents without sacrificing your own needs.
1. Schedule Regular Medical Checkups
Aging adults may experience a variety of health issues, including chronic pain, diseases, or dementia. The resulting limitations and pain can influence your parents to act out in anger toward you.
Medical treatment could provide relief. When you take your parents for checkups, ask them to be honest with the doctor about how they feel, and discuss your concerns. Treatment, medication, or therapy may help your parents manage uncomfortable health challenges and become less cranky.
2. Arrange Transportation
Common problems like vision loss, reduced reaction time, and memory loss can hinder your aging parents from driving. They may react to this loss of independence by demanding more of your time.
While you can serve as an occasional chauffeur, arrange alternate transportation options. Ask family and friends to chip in, reserve the same ride-share driver for regular doctor appointments, or set a weekly appointment to drive your parents to the store.
Transportation services give your parents some freedom and independence and keep them safe on the road.
3. Perform Home Maintenance
Your parents may need to fix hazards or broken items around the house, but arthritis, reduced grip capacity, and unsteadiness keep them from performing these necessary tasks. You may find yourself dealing with demanding elderly parents as they call you often and ask that you come over to change burned out lightbulbs, tighten loose doorknobs, or mow the lawn.
To ensure your parent’s home functions properly and to maximize your time, hire a home maintenance company. A licensed carpenter, landscape specialist, or other professionals can fix problem areas and perform repairs as well.
Alternatively, arrange a family work day and join with relatives to create a safe and fully-functioning home for your elderly parents.
4. Schedule Companionship
The need for friendship is strong for all humans, including your aging parents, and they may place unusual demands on you because they feel lonely.
Hiring a home care aide could be the perfect solution for those times that you or other family/friends can’t be around. Whether it’s to share a meal at home, or accompany your loved one to the movies or other social outing, this service is invaluable when your aging parent needs someone by their side.
Consider signing your parents up for an “adopt-a-senior” program. People from the community can volunteer to sit with seniors and talk, reminisce, or play games together. Encourage your extended family members to take turns visiting, too, or hire a home companion. Your parents won’t feel so lonely and may act less aggressively when they have regular visitors.
5. Purchase Food Delivery
As adults age, their tastes and nutritional needs change. Your parents may complain that food tastes bland or forget to eat.
A food delivery service can meet your parent’s needs for balanced, nutritious, and tasty meals. Meals on Wheels provides hot meals to seniors during the week, and Doordash and Grubhub are two restaurant delivery options. You could also arrange for your parents to participate in a supper club where neighbors take turns preparing and hosting meals.
These options ensure your parents eat well even when you can’t cook or eat with them.
6. Offer Social Activities
As social circles, independence, and health decline, your elderly parents will experience fewer opportunities to engage with friends. When this happens the result is you dealing with demanding elderly parents who feel isolated and lonely.
To meet your parent’s social needs, encourage them to get involved in local hobby, volunteer, and social clubs. Here, your parents will meet new friends as they play games, listen to music, or discuss current events. A fulfilling social schedule can renew their excitement for life.
As a bonus, staying active during the day typically improves nighttime sleep quality, which means your parents can be more rested, energized, and cheerful.
Home care aides offer support and motivation to get your loved one up, out and moving, so long as their health allows them to do so. When you enlist the help of a home care aide, you are also encouraging alert thinking which is vital to the aging process.
7. Perform Light Housekeeping
A messy, cluttered, or dirty home affects your parent’s physical health and mental clarity. They may feel frustrated, angry, and worried because of the condition of their home.
A regular housekeeper can alleviate some of your parent’s concerns and free you from cleaning every time you visit. You could also encourage your parents to sell or donate some of their unwanted items to make cleaning and navigating their home easier, more manageable and enjoyable.
8. Engage In Exercise
Older adults who suffer from physical challenges or depression sometimes stop moving. Their sedentary lifestyle aggravates physical problems, though, including muscle stiffness, sleep problems, and mental fogginess. They may also become more demanding as their physical capacity shrinks.
Ideally, your parents should exercise daily. Regular movement and fresh air can help your parents feel happier, think more clearly, and sleep better. Senior fitness centers, neighborhood walking clubs, and swimming in a heated indoor pool can give them the important exercise they need and improve their physical and mental health.
9. Reminisce Often
Sometimes, mild-mannered parents can become enraged or use uncharacteristic language because of dementia or other underlying factors associated with aging. Their behavior can be frustrating, hurtful, and embarrassing to you.
Reminiscing about happy times could help your parents forget their present anger. As they use their long-term memory skills to think about the past, they feel happier and more content in the moment.
This strategy also promotes bonding and helps your parents feel useful and valued as they remember past accomplishments, achievements, and activities.
10. Take Breaks
Although you love your parents dearly, their demands are draining. You may feel at times like you’ve reached the end of your physical, mental, and emotional capacities as you juggle dealing with demanding elderly parents on top of your own life and needs.
Stay energized and positive when you prioritize self-care and remember to take breaks. Make time every day to nurture yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You will be a better caregiver to your parents when your needs are met first.
Effective Strategies For Dealing With Demanding Elderly Parents
As a caregiver for your elderly parents, you carry a big responsibility. The task is especially challenging if your parents are demanding. These ten tips can assist you in meeting both your and your parent’s needs.
You may also find helpful information for dealing with demanding elderly parents here: