How To Cope Living with Difficult Elderly Relatives

To some senior citizens, the fact that they’re older and wiser is often taken as a license to do as they please. After all, they’ve lived a full life, and they’ve given their dues to society. Isn’t it about time for society to please them? If you find yourself living with your elderly relatives—your parents, an uncle, an aunt, or even a set of grandparents—then you might sometimes find it difficult to deal with their whims.

These could be simple habits, like leaving their teeth in a glass on the kitchen sink, or leaving the toilet un-flushed. Or, it can be a serious case of meddling with your family affairs. Whatever the case may be, you can find it easier to cope with their presence with a few adjustments.

Give a little understanding. Most senior citizens feel that they are still at the prime of their life. However, some recent difficulty might have given them no other choice than to live with you. Perhaps the high cost of living has forced them to sell their home. Or some recent illness now prevents them from living autonomously. At first, this would usually result in feelings of resentment. Give it time to adjust.

In some cases, you might have been forced to live back with your folks, due to some financial difficulty. If this is the case, then you have more reason to be understanding of their perspective and situation.

Watch their health. Sometimes, physical pains or psychological problems might cause an elderly person to be grumpier than usual. Bring your folks to a doctor, and have them checked up. Maybe the extra stress of having younger people around is getting to them. Make sure they are in a relaxed environment where they can live in peace.

Give them activities to do. A lot of senior citizens prefer to be active rather than pass the time alone at home. They also like being around peers and contemporaries. In this case, sign up your folks to attend a day program several times a week. These could be regular outings, like going to the movies, or playing in chess or checkers tournaments. Day activities would sometimes include pick-up and drop-off at your home. These would cost some money, but if it’s for your peace of mind, it will be worth it. Activity will be good for your elderly folks’ health, too.

Share the responsibility. Elderly family members often forget to take their medicines. And they sometimes need help when going to the bathroom. Sharing the responsibility with the rest of the family is one way of coping. If you can afford to hire a caregiver, then this is also one good option.

Elderly relatives can sometimes be difficult. But remember that as children or grandchildren, you do owe something to them—they probably took care of you when you were young, and it’s now your turn. It can be stressful, but with cooperation and coordination, you can manage it well. It will probably be a good example to your children to show how well you take care of your elderly relatives, no matter how difficult. A few years down the road, you might find yourself in their very situation.


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