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How to communicate with elderly parents: 10 simple rules


Parents are the people closest and dearest to us. They gave us life, they raised and fed, protected and protected, taught and educated us from the first days of our birth. And, of course, it was thanks to our parents that we became what we are now.

But if in childhood we ourselves were drawn to our parents, seeking protection, support and wise advice from them, over the years the need for this decreases. We have become adults, independent, we no longer need parental care and their wise advice. Moreover, attempts to prompt, teach and guide us from experienced fathers and mothers are perceived as moralizing and very often cause a sharp negative reaction.

Such a misunderstanding between children and their elderly parents becomes a serious obstacle to communication, as a result of which the complaint of poor attitude from children becomes the most frequent complaint of the elderly, in a frank conversation with a psychologist. According to them, children have to listen to a lot of unpleasant words: “They behave like little children!”, “Forever crawl with their advice!”, “They can’t be forced to go to the doctor!”, “Do not get into your own business!” etc. etc.

At the same time, the most striking feeling among people who recently buried their elderly parents is the guilt for the wrong behavior and insufficient attention that they paid to their mothers and fathers during their lifetime. Such people endure the loss much harder and for the rest of their lives are forced to carry a sense of guilt.

But after all, these grave consequences can be avoided if, even during the lifetime of your parents, you start to behave in such a way that your communication ceases to be a torment, and brings only joy from the time given to each other. In this article, we give 10 simple rules that will help to reconsider your attitude to elderly daddies and mummies.

10 rules for dealing with elderly parents

1. Do not expect the best from communication
Going to visit the elderly parents, we hope that this time everything will go smoothly. We will not hear the usual reproaches and moralizing, will not fall into conflict once again and will not spoil our mood for the whole day. But each time our expectations are not met and everything goes according to the usual scenario.

And try not to wait for the positive from the meeting. It will be all the more pleasant if the communication takes place in a benevolent tone. Remember how many times you returned to the same unpleasant conversation, but it never went beyond words. So is it worth it to worry about it again? Better set yourself up for patience and restraint and praise yourself for not being able to break into a loved one. In the end, after listening to the point of view of the father or mother, put yourself in his place and think that you will speak to your children in old age.

2. Take the initiative
In childhood, we shared our sorrows and joys with our parents, sought their support and asked for advice. At the same time, our parents did not shoulder their problems on us and tried to protect us from negative information. Times have changed, we have become adults and independent, and parents have grown old and now they need our support and help.

It is time for us to become leaders in the family, including in building relationships with parents. Create your own rules and your rituals of love in relationships with parents. Show more care for them and protect your parents from their problems, especially since they are not able to solve them. Remember, our prosperous life is for parents a measure of their wealth.

3. Do not seek to re-educate parents
In childhood, our parents constantly taught us good examples, setting as an example a diligent neighbor boy or an excellent girl. So we, when talking with elderly parents, sometimes want to teach them the example of a neighbor’s grandmother walking around the area with walking sticks, or a friend of an old man who has not had bad habits since childhood and has lived 100 years. It’s just that a person of age can no longer be corrected, and he perceives criticism attempts in his address extremely negatively. Persuasion in this case also does not achieve anything.

However, do not despair. As once your parents went to little tricks to make you eat, so you try to cheat to get what you want. For example, give an elderly mother a little puppy, not forgetting to mention that the grandchildren in this case will be noticeably more likely to visit. If such a trick works, mom will be much more likely to go out, and willfully arrange daily walks for herself.

4. Keep your finger on the pulse
Diseases are the constant companions of a withering organism. Almost every of our aging parents is constantly experiencing severe symptoms of malaise, which, of course, is reflected in his mood. And we, not understanding their condition, think that our parents are grumbling simply out of harm. To try to understand your family, try to at least temporarily feel what they feel. For example, if your mom loses her eyesight, blindfold and spend a couple of hours in this state. Or remember how you acted up when you fell ill with a cold, and your whole body was aching. An elderly father experiences such pain almost constantly, suffering from rheumatism. Understanding what your mom or father feels will help you better understand their needs and treat them more condescendingly.

5. Avoid Conflicts
The mood in people of old age changes literally in the blink of an eye. You just had a heart-to-heart conversation, and right there a person boils with irritation. All this is a consequence of creeping old age, dissatisfaction with oneself and inability to cope with the fatigue of the mind and body. At such moments, it is easy to break and come into conflict with a loved one. But you should restrain yourself, because in return anger you will not correct the situation, but only increase your passions to the limit. It is better to condescendingly smile at the negative statements of a loved one and, at the slightest opportunity, change the subject of the conversation. Try to distract the parent with a positive topic that interests him, and he immediately forgets that he was recently angry.

6. Do not regret, but show compassion
It is important to understand that there is a huge gap between pity and compassion. Pitying your dad or mom, you take on the solution to all his problems, not leaving him the opportunity to live a full life. By doing this, you render him a “disservice”, making you feel miserable and weak and, thereby, depriving the rest of self-esteem. And try not to spare the loved one, but sympathize with him. Compassion is a creative feeling in which you do not solve all the problems for your parents, but help them, substitute your strong shoulder, on which they can always lean. Compassion, you share the pain and fate of your parents, helping them to live a vibrant and fulfilling life at an advanced age.

7. Do not prove your parents are right or wrong
We give a typical example. Grandmother complains that she is tired, constantly walking the four-legged pet of her children. It is understandable, age is not the same. And it tempts you to remind your mother that she herself suggested walking the dog while you are at work. In this case, it is useless to argue, and therefore you, in order to avoid scandal, completely protect your mother from the obligation to care for the four-legged pet. But after a couple of days, again hear the reproach addressed to you with the wording: "Do not let the dog walk, so you do not trust me?"

In such situations, it is really, very difficult to resist a scandal. However, do not break into a loved one. The eternal discontent of your elderly parents is a signal that they do not pay attention, and they lack a sense of self-worth. They are at an age when it is already difficult to create something meaningful on their own. Hence the constant grunts and discontent. But it can be fixed. Ask your dad or mom to do something useful for you, but not burdensome, and constantly praise them for it. Let grandfather take his grandson a couple of times a week to the sports section, and grandmother sometimes comes to help with the housework. And be sure to thank your parents for this help. Let them know how valuable their feasible contribution to your life is, because realizing their importance does real miracles with people.

8. Help parents find a hobby
In childhood, a child admires literally everything that he sees around. However, over the years, things that can impress us are becoming smaller and that’s why elderly people turn into evil old people and grumblers. They are banally bored, and because of the lack of vivid emotions and emotions, these people limit their lives to endless watching TV or sitting at the entrance and “washing the bones” of neighbors.

Such a limited attitude to life affects communication with children. People who have no interests remain embittered, constantly demand increased attention and cling to every little thing in order to fan the conflict and at least temporarily dispel boredom. What to do in this situation? It's simple, parents need to do something. Around a thousand examples of how active and interesting people live in old age. After all, you can devote yourself to fishing, doing needlework or baking, creating a folk choir and singing no worse than “Buranovsky grandmothers”. But the parents themselves will not find such an occupation if it does not accompany their whole life. They need help and we can work out all the options in order to offer our parents something that will color their lives with new emotions and impressions.

9. Do not replace your life with the life of parents
The realization that life is fleeting and that parents do not have much time left in this world is very traumatic for the psyche of children. Remembering the most dear people, we are often tormented by remorse that we pay little attention to them, we do not give something very important. Of course, you should take care of your parents and constantly remind them of how you love them. But at the same time, care should not turn into obsession. You should not replace your life with the life of parents. They absolutely do not need it.

It is important to know the following: at an age of late maturity and old age, people are more and more immersed in themselves, trying to come to terms with the inevitable end, trying to put their thoughts about themselves and past events in order, often “falling out” of the present. This is the way of thinking and memory.

It is important for elderly parents to know that you have taken place as a person, that you live a full, happy life. And the explanation that you did not build a career, did not start a family, and did not give birth to children just because you want to spend more time with your parents will only oppress them. That is why, taking care of the happiness of an old mother or an elderly father, one should not forget about one's own happiness.

10. Learn to forgive
Life is a complicated thing and everything can happen in it, including a serious resentment against its parents. But if you don’t try to forgive your loved one today, tomorrow he may not even exist, and for the rest of your life you will be burdened with the thought that the closest person has gone into another world without reconciling with you. This is a really heavy burden, and therefore it is not too late to do everything so that the insult leaves your heart.

Think about how important the person who gave you life is for you. How many good and positive things bind you, how many pleasant memories your heart holds. There are more important things in life than an undercurrent of resentment, and so release the load from the soul and you will feel that your wings have grown! Of course, letting go of the offense is not easy, but if you wish, you can mentally take the place of the parent, understand what the person was guided by, offending you, and ultimately forgive him. In addition, there are many psychological practices that help to forget grievances and learn compassion. The main thing is your desire to reconcile with your beloved and most dear to you person.


Our old age is also not far off. This is very difficult to believe (especially when the age is not more than forty), but it is. It is very important that our children see and can follow a positive example. After all, once we become elderly parents. And here, good relations with our parents can serve as an example for our children. But we, observing the parents, will definitely know how to not do it and what offends and annoys others. I would like to believe that this article will help people to take a fresh look at the relationship of adult children and their elderly parents. Perhaps you will learn something new from it, so that your relationship with your parents will become warmer and more sincere.
Take care of your family!

1. Expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised

You do not expect positive from the upcoming communication with elderly parents? And do not wait, but if the evening still turns out to be pleasant - so much the better. In addition, you can enjoy yourself and your behavior.

For example, you know that there is a painful conversation that parents are not returning to for the first time. Look, because no matter how many times this topic is discussed, things will not go beyond words anyway, what's the point of getting angry and annoyed?

Tune in to restraint and having endured the beginning of an unpleasant conversation, encourage and mentally praise yourself for patience and self-control. Listening calmly to the point of view of your parents, think about how you will become a quarter century later.

2. Take the initiative

In childhood, mom and dad are perceived as super beings, all knowing, all powerful. We came to them not so much with joys as with problems, seeking advice. But over time, this halo fades away and it is time to take on the role of a leader not only in a career, but also in building family relationships.

Create your own rules and rituals of love in communication with parents and stick to them. Remember, parents did not dedicate us to their work problems when we were little - the time has come for us to filter information, saving them from their troubles, which they still are not able to solve.

Our well-being is a measure of their viability in life, their self-confidence.

3. Accept as they are, not re-educate

Who did not tell mom in childhood about a neighbor boy who eats well and obeys his parents or a classmate who is pleased with excellent grades? When parents get old and begin to need help, there is a desire to go the same way and give an example to an old woman neighbor, who walks a lot and eats properly.

But this is useless, they cannot be corrected, and criticism “in the forehead” will cause a response wave of negativity and rejection.

As an option (if the physical abilities of the parents allow) - go for a trick, for example, give a puppy whom you have to walk on a regular basis, with the wording “the granddaughter will often visit to chat with a cute dog”.

Four.Keep a finger on the pulse

An indispensable attribute of aging is disease. Even if you do not take your parents to doctors personally, you should monitor the dynamics of their diseases and understand what they are, what the consequences may be and, as an option, try on yourself.

For example, if dad loses his sight, try spending one day blindfolded to understand how he feels. And how will you feel when you hear nothing? And if the legs are so difficult to move, as if each hangs on a weight?

With age, people lose their physical abilities, there is nothing to be done about it, but you can learn to accept this fact and think in the key “how would it be more comfortable”.

5. Do not conflict

Elderly people are often aggressive even for no apparent reason, and the change of mood from “benign” to “irritated” occurs in no time. This is a consequence of self-dissatisfaction, inability to cope with the growing fatigue of the body and mind.

Do not succumb to provocations, respond to aggression - and you will disappear. You can’t wash away the dirt with dirt. Smile, ignore the attacks of an elderly relative and, at the slightest opportunity, change the vector, the topic of conversation. Distract him - and he will forget about how just angry.

6. Not pity, but compassion

Between these two feelings there is a huge gap. Pity makes a person weak, miserable, compassion can be creative, even cynical, but able to give strength and self-confidence.

Compassion is very important, it is a friendly shoulder on which you can lean in difficult times. To regret means to take on the solution of problems, depriving a person of the last vestiges of self-esteem.

7. No need to argue and prove right or wrong

A typical situation: a retired grandmother complains that adult children load her with some duties, for example, walking a dog, and she gets tired. And you remember how the situation developed, and the soul burns to say: but you yourself suggested, because we are late at work!

It is useless to argue here, because she has her own version of events. Moreover, the release from the "honorable duty" will be the reason for a new wave of discontent - do not trust! Eternal discontent is a way to attract attention.

Old people lack a sense of self-worth, because they can no longer create meaningful results in life on their own. This is a new character trait due to age-related changes.

You understand that grandmother will not be able to walk up to the tenth floor? Take this new trait as a given and learn how to process the negative energy given by the old man and return the positive. Speak more words of love and gratitude.

8. More impressions.

Young children are fascinated by everything, with age this, alas, passes, emotions and feelings lose their sharpness. Too many problems of the elderly - from boredom. Grandmothers on the bench wash the bones to neighbors precisely because of a lack of other topics, vivid impressions, but this is not a disaster - it is much worse if communication is limited to the TV screen.

Seniors just need something to do. Fraudsters, who sell pennies to old people for fabulous sums, are looking for not just lonely, but socially limited old people, and the best way to deal with this phenomenon is not iron doors and combination locks, but an interesting thing.

Moreover, in principle, anyone - someone gathers for the company, sews national costumes and sings songs (“Buranovskie Granny”), and someone “cuts” games at the computer and asks their grandchildren not just to visit, but to install a new one a toy.

If your mother inspires you to retell the next episode of the series or for a long and tedious story tells what and where she hurts, listen patiently. This is her series of events.

Unfortunately, the information space supplies not only positive emotions. Of course, we, as caring children, try to limit our parents from negativity, but this is not always possible. That should also be taken for granted, since it is life.

9. Do not blame yourself, including yourself

When we think about communicating with loved ones, guilt arises very often. It seems to us that for everyday affairs we criminally devote little time to children, spouse and, of course, parents.

And in the latter case, the situation is aggravated by the understanding that the time spent by elderly relatives in this world is inexorably ending, that they will leave, and we will remain without having time, without saying, without having finished something important.

But here you need to know the following: people on the border of life and death are more and more immersed in themselves, trying to put in order thoughts of the past, often just falling out of the present. These are features of thinking, features of memory. The events of recent days are dispelling like fog, leaving the main thing - mom and dad.

It is in our power to give them as much as possible, but this does not mean that we should replace our own lives with the lives of our parents. This will not lead to anything good, on the contrary, it will cause reasonable discontent - why did not your beloved child build a career, create a family? And the explanations that you wanted to be around will not have any weight.

10. Forgive and forgive

Perhaps the main thing for a catfish is to learn to forgive. Leave grudges in the past and start each new meeting as if there were no grievances, because there are more important things than trying to make your parents understand your life position. In addition, if you do not forgive the parents today - tomorrow, perhaps, they will no longer be ...

Forgiving is not easy, it takes strength. There are many practices to maintain compassion — do not neglect them. Although the most effective, probably, be able to make laugh. Joint laughter removes the negative and allows you to step over an unpleasant topic and live on.

I hope this helps you to make your relationship with your parents warmer and more cordial.