Learning Resources

Challenging Relationship Help

Caring for aging parents can bring added stress to your already-busy life. As their needs increase in number (and maybe intensity), it’s important to find ways to cope with the challenges they present. Balancing your responsibilities and ensuring their wellbeing can be tough.

If you’re struggling to provide the care they need, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Prioritise what matters most when dealing with difficult parents; it’s essential to choose your battles wisely. Not every issue is worth fighting over, so learn to differentiate between matters that require immediate attention and those where compromise is possible.
  2. Seek understanding behind their behaviour instead of getting angry during challenging situations. Try to delve deeper into the motives behind your parents’ actions. By seeking to understand them, you may discover that their behaviour stems from underlying factors like fear or confusion.
  3. Find support for stress relief — sharing your concerns with friends, siblings, or a care manager can be a valuable coping strategy. Having an outlet for your stress will help you maintain a clear mind when interacting with your parents, preventing you from taking your frustrations out on them.
  4. Establish clear boundaries in situations where your parents struggle to control their behaviour. Remember that it’s important to set limits. Determine what level of misconduct is acceptable and recognise when you need to draw a line. By defining boundaries, you’ll make dealing with difficult parents less overwhelming and know when to step back.
  5. Acknowledge your limitations and remember that it’s okay to say ‘No’ when coping with elderly parents. You can’t always change their minds, alter their behaviour, or solve all their problems. Recognising your limitations and seeking help when needed is crucial for both your wellbeing and theirs.
  6. Explore outside assistance when caring for aging parents becomes overwhelming. It’s vital to know when it’s time to consider external support. Options like in-home caregivers or assisted-living facilities can provide relief and allow you to maintain a loving relationship with your parents without being their primary caregiver.
  7. Plan for the future and recognise that your parents’ ability to live independently won’t last forever. If they are resistant to change, planning ahead becomes vital. Involve them in the process as you make arrangements for their future care and living arrangements.

Coping with difficult elderly parents is a challenging journey, but by implementing these strategies, you can navigate this phase with more understanding, compassion, and support.