How to Successfully Convince Your Elderly Parent to Listen

Convince Your elderly parent

Are you struggling to communicate with your elderly parent who refuses to listen to your advice? You’re not alone. Many adult children face this challenge, with 77% believing that their parents are stubborn when it comes to seeking help or taking advice. However, there are effective strategies you can use to improve communication and manage resistance with compassion.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the challenges that elderly parents face can help you approach the situation with empathy and compassion.
  • Accepting the situation and adjusting your expectations can reduce stress and improve your relationship with your parents.
  • Practice effective communication by avoiding power struggles, involving your parents in decision-making, and treating them as adults.
  • Finding common ground and compromising can bridge the communication gap and address your parents’ needs.
  • Seeking outside support and professional help can provide valuable guidance and facilitate better communication.

Understanding the Challenges of Dealing with Stubborn Elderly Parents

Aging can be a difficult process for everyone, and it often comes with various challenges. As elderly individuals navigate this stage of life, they may experience fear, a loss of independence, and worries about the effects of medical conditions. These concerns can contribute to their stubbornness and resistance when it comes to seeking help and accepting advice from their adult children.

It’s crucial for adult children to understand the challenges their elderly parents face during this phase. By gaining insight into their perspective, adult children can approach the situation with empathy, patience, and compassion.

Emotional Challenges

The emotional challenges that elderly parents face can significantly impact their behavior and decision-making. They may experience fear about the future, worry about their physical and mental health, or struggle with a sense of loss and declining independence.

“As I’ve gotten older, I fear losing my freedom and becoming a burden on my children.”

Understanding these emotional challenges can help adult children respond more positively and supportively. By acknowledging their fears and concerns, adult children can create a safe and trusting environment that encourages open communication.

Physical and Medical Challenges

The aging process often brings about physical and medical challenges that can further complicate communication with elderly parents. Dealing with chronic pain, managing health conditions, or facing the possibility of cognitive decline can be overwhelming for both the elderly individual and their adult children.

It’s important to recognize the impact of these challenges on the everyday lives of elderly parents. By understanding their physical limitations or health concerns, adult children can approach conversations and decision-making with sensitivity and empathy.

Fear of Dependence

Elderly individuals often fear losing their independence and becoming dependent on others for their daily needs. This fear can manifest as stubbornness, as they may resist seeking help or accepting assistance from their adult children.

“I’ve always been independent, and the thought of relying on someone else is hard to accept.”

By acknowledging this fear and validating their desire for independence, adult children can find ways to support their parents while respecting their autonomy. Approaching conversations from a place of collaboration and empowering them to make decisions can help alleviate their fear while facilitating better communication.

Accepting the Situation and Adjusting Expectations

When dealing with stubborn elderly parents, it is crucial to accept the situation for what it is. Acknowledge that they are adults with the right to make decisions, even if those decisions may not align with your own beliefs about what is best for them. Accepting this reality can help reduce stress and improve your relationship with your parents.

Adjusting your expectations is another important step in effectively managing the situation. Understand that your parents may have their own reasons for resisting your advice or help. They may be holding onto their independence or have concerns you are unaware of. By adjusting your expectations, you can approach the situation with empathy and patience.

“Sometimes, it’s not about changing their minds but about accepting that they have the right to make their own choices.”

Remember, accepting the situation and adjusting expectations does not mean giving up on your concerns for their well-being. It simply means recognizing their autonomy and approaching discussions with respect and understanding. Empathize with their perspective and collaborate on finding solutions that address their needs while respecting their wishes.

Embracing acceptance and adjusting your expectations can pave the way for more effective communication and a stronger relationship with your elderly parents.

Effective Communication Strategies

When it comes to dealing with stubborn elderly parents, effective communication is key. By employing the right strategies, you can connect with your aging parents and establish a strong and open line of communication. Here are some strategies to help you improve your communication:

  1. Empower them: Rather than engaging in power struggles, involve your parents in the decision-making process. Show them that their opinions and choices matter. This approach not only promotes their autonomy but also fosters a sense of respect and understanding in your relationship.
  2. Use open-ended questions: Instead of closed-ended questions that can easily be answered with a “yes” or “no,” ask open-ended questions that encourage deeper conversations. This allows your parents to express their thoughts and feelings more freely.
  3. Be sensitive: Show empathy and understanding towards your parents’ emotions and concerns. Acknowledge their fears and worries, and be patient in addressing them. By creating a safe and non-judgmental space, you can build trust and enhance communication.
  4. Treat them like adults: Remember that your parents are adults who have accumulated wisdom and experience throughout their lives. Treat them with respect by valuing their opinions and avoiding condescending or patronizing language.

By implementing these effective communication strategies, you can bridge the gap and connect with your elderly parents in a meaningful way. Remember, the goal is not just to communicate but to truly understand and be understood.

The Power of Empathy

“Empathy is the key to effective communication with aging parents. When we approach conversations with understanding and genuine concern, we create a nurturing environment in which both parties feel heard and valued.” – Dr. Jane Stevens, Geriatric Psychiatrist

Finding Common Ground and Compromising

Finding common ground and compromising with your elderly parents is crucial for improving communication and resolving conflicts. By understanding their concerns and motivations, you can work towards finding mutually agreeable solutions that address their needs while ensuring their safety and well-being.

Listening to their perspective is key to bridging the communication gap. Take the time to actively listen and empathize with their point of view. Acknowledge their feelings and validate their experiences, even if you may not fully agree with them. This empathy can foster a sense of trust and open the doors for productive discussion and compromise.

“In a healthy relationship, compromise is essential. We must find common ground that respects each other’s values and interests.”

To find common ground, focus on shared interests or goals. Look for areas where your priorities align and build upon those commonalities. For example, if both you and your elderly parent prioritize their safety and independence, explore ways to enhance their security while still respecting their autonomy.

Consider the following strategies for finding common ground and compromising:

  • Engage in open and honest communication: Foster an environment where both parties feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns. Active listening and respectful dialogue can pave the way for finding common ground.
  • Brainstorm potential solutions together: Encourage collaborative problem-solving by involving your parents in the decision-making process. Explore various options and evaluate their feasibility and benefits together.
  • Seek assistance from a neutral third party: In complex situations or when emotions run high, it may be beneficial to involve a mediator or family counselor. These professionals can provide guidance and help facilitate compromise.

Striving for compromise doesn’t mean sacrificing your own needs or values. It’s about finding a balance that considers the well-being and preferences of both parties involved. Remember that compromise is an ongoing process, and it may require patience and flexibility. Embrace the opportunity to grow and strengthen your relationship with your elderly parents while finding solutions that work for everyone.

Finding common ground and compromising can establish a foundation of understanding and collaboration. This approach can lead to improved communication, reduced tension, and ultimately, a more harmonious relationship with your elderly parents.

Benefits of Finding Common Ground and Compromising Positive Outcomes
Improved communication Reduced tension and conflict
Enhanced trust and understanding Stronger relationship with elderly parents
Effective problem-solving Mutually beneficial solutions


Seeking Outside Support and Professional Help

When dealing with resistance from our elderly parents, we must recognize that we don’t have to face the challenges alone. Seeking outside support and professional help can provide valuable guidance and assistance in improving communication and addressing the underlying issues. Here are a few ways to find the support you need:

  1. Reach out to friends: Don’t hesitate to lean on your friends for support. Sharing your concerns with trusted individuals can provide emotional support and different perspectives on handling the situation.
  2. Join support groups: Connect with others who are going through similar experiences by joining support groups or online communities. These groups can provide a safe space for sharing stories, tips, and advice, and provide a much-needed sense of belonging and understanding.
  3. Therapists or counselors: Consider seeking guidance from therapists or professional counselors specializing in family dynamics and aging-related issues. They can help you explore effective strategies and coping mechanisms for dealing with resistance from elderly parents.
  4. Mediators: If communication breakdowns persist, involving a professional mediator can help facilitate constructive conversations and find common ground. A mediator can provide an unbiased perspective and assist in resolving conflicts with your elderly parents.
  5. Geriatric care manager: Engaging the services of a geriatric care manager can be highly beneficial. These professionals have expertise in eldercare and can assess your parents’ needs, provide guidance on long-term care planning, and recommend appropriate resources and services.
  6. Consult a doctor: In some cases, seeking advice from your parents’ healthcare provider can shed light on any underlying medical or cognitive issues that might be contributing to their resistance. Together with the doctor, you can develop strategies to address these challenges effectively.

Remember, seeking outside support and professional help doesn’t mean you have failed; instead, it demonstrates your commitment to finding the best solutions and improving your relationship with your elderly parents. By leveraging the expertise of others, you can navigate the complexities of aging and foster healthier communication.

Planning and Thinking Ahead

When dealing with stubborn elderly parents, planning for the future and thinking ahead is crucial. By taking proactive steps now, you can prevent potential problems and challenges. Encourage your parents to consider their future care needs, ensuring they have a comprehensive plan. Remind them of the importance of prioritizing their health and well-being, even if they haven’t been diagnosed with cognitive conditions.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Planning ahead involves discussing important milestones your parents want to be present for and making sure their wishes are known and respected. This could include milestone events like birthdays, anniversaries, or family gatherings. By keeping these milestones in mind, you can help your parents stay motivated and engaged in their own care.

Promoting Health and Wellness

One of the essential aspects of planning for the future is promoting the health and wellness of your elderly parents. Even if they are currently in good health, it’s important to emphasize the benefits of preventive care and healthy lifestyle choices.

  • Encourage regular medical check-ups and screenings to detect any potential health issues early.
  • Promote a balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods.
  • Encourage physical activity and regular exercise.
  • Provide information and resources on mental health and cognitive stimulation.

By emphasizing the importance of taking care of themselves now, you can help ensure that your parents maintain their independence and quality of life as they age.

Benefits of Planning Ahead Steps to Take
Peace of mind for both you and your parents Create a will and establish power of attorney
Reduced financial stress Discuss long-term care insurance and retirement savings
Increased control and decision-making power Document end-of-life care preferences and appoint a healthcare proxy
Smooth transition of assets and responsibilities Establish a comprehensive estate plan

Planning for the future also involves addressing legal and financial aspects. Encourage your parents to create a will, establish power of attorney, and discuss long-term care insurance and retirement savings. Documenting end-of-life care preferences and appointing a healthcare proxy can provide peace of mind for both you and your parents. A comprehensive estate plan ensures a smooth transition of assets and responsibilities.

Coping with Frustration and Taking Care of Yourself

Dealing with stubborn elderly parents can be emotionally challenging. The frustration that comes with their resistance and refusal to listen can take a toll on your well-being. It’s important to find ways to cope with this frustration and prioritize self-care.

One effective way to cope is by seeking support from friends and loved ones who understand your situation. Talking openly about your feelings can provide relief and offer a fresh perspective. Consider joining support groups or online communities where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Sharing stories and learning from one another can be incredibly beneficial.

Another way to cope with frustration is by engaging in activities that help you release negative emotions. Whether it’s practicing mindfulness and meditation, engaging in physical exercise, or pursuing hobbies that bring you joy, finding healthy outlets for stress can significantly improve your overall well-being.

Remember, you can only do so much. Accepting that you cannot control your parents’ choices or change their behavior is crucial. It’s essential to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs. Take time for yourself, engage in self-care practices, and ensure you have a support system in place.

“Taking care of oneself is not selfish—it’s a necessity. When we neglect our own well-being, we become less equipped to handle the challenges that come our way.”

By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle the frustrations that come with dealing with stubborn elderly parents. Remember, you deserve to feel happy and fulfilled in your own life, and prioritizing self-care is an essential part of that journey.

Understanding the Motivations Behind Their Behavior

As our parents age, they often undergo various physical and mental changes that can influence their behavior. It’s important to take the time to understand the motivations behind their actions and decisions. By doing so, we can approach the situation with empathy and find solutions that address their underlying needs.

Are your elderly parents acting out of habit, asserting their independence, or struggling with depression or cognitive decline? These factors can significantly impact their behavior and responses to our attempts at communication and assistance. By recognizing and acknowledging their motivations, we can tailor our approach and find effective strategies for connecting with them.

“To understand your parents’ love, you must raise children yourself.” – Chinese Proverb

It’s important to approach this understanding phase with patience and compassion. Remember that the aging process can be challenging, both physically and emotionally, and our parents may be grappling with a range of complex emotions and concerns.

To gain insight into their motivations, listen attentively to what they have to say and observe their behavior. Look for patterns or triggers that may shed light on their decisions and actions. Engaging in open and honest conversations can also help uncover their fears, desires, and perspectives.

Recognizing the motivations behind their behavior:

  • Are they struggling with the loss of independence and autonomy?
  • Are they hesitant to ask for help due to pride or fear of becoming a burden?
  • Are they resistant to change and unfamiliar situations?
  • Do they feel a sense of isolation or loneliness?
  • Are they dealing with physical pain or discomfort?

By understanding the motivations behind their behavior, we can adapt our communication style and approach to better meet their needs. This understanding can pave the way for more effective conversations, foster trust and respect, and ultimately, improve the relationship between adult children and their elderly parents.


Understanding the motivations behind elderly parents’ behavior is crucial for effective communication and support.

Respecting Their Autonomy and Treating Them as Adults

When it comes to dealing with stubborn elderly parents, it is crucial to respect their autonomy and treat them as the adults they are. It’s understandable to worry about their well-being, but imposing your decisions on them or threatening to move them to a nursing home is not the way to go. Instead, approach the situation with empathy and understanding.

“Respecting autonomy is about recognizing that your elderly parents have the right to make their own choices, even if you disagree with them. Treat them with dignity and involve them in decision-making processes.”

Here are a few strategies to help you respect their autonomy and treat them with the respect they deserve:

1. Listen to Their Opinions

Give your elderly parents a chance to express their thoughts and feelings. Listen attentively and validate their opinions, even if you have a different perspective. This will show that their voice matters and that their autonomy is respected.

2. Involve Them in Decision-Making

Include your elderly parents in important decisions that affect their lives. Ask for their input and consider their preferences whenever possible. This collaborative approach will not only make them feel valued but also promote better communication and understanding.

3. Offer Choices and Options

When presenting options or discussing potential solutions, give your parents choices. Allow them to have a say in matters that directly impact their lives. This empowers them to make decisions that align with their values and fosters a sense of independence.

4. Provide Information and Support

To make informed decisions, your elderly parents need access to relevant information. Share any resources, research, or expert advice that can help them understand the situation better. Offer support throughout the decision-making process, ensuring they have all the necessary tools to make choices confidently.

5. Respect Their Boundaries

Boundaries are important for everyone, regardless of age. Respect your elderly parents’ boundaries and avoid crossing lines that make them uncomfortable. Take cues from their body language, verbal cues, and explicit statements to establish and maintain a respectful relationship.

6. Acknowledge Their Expertise

Your elderly parents have a lifetime of experience and wisdom. Acknowledge and appreciate their expertise in various areas. Seek their advice and guidance when appropriate, as this demonstrates your respect for their knowledge and capabilities.

By respecting their autonomy and treating them as adults, you can establish a healthy and harmonious relationship with your elderly parents. Remember, treating them with dignity and involving them in decision-making processes contributes to improved communication and fosters mutual respect.

Dealing with Anger, Hostility, and Outbursts

Sometimes, dealing with stubborn elderly parents can involve managing anger, hostility, and outbursts. It’s important to understand the potential causes for these behaviors and approach the situation with empathy and patience. There may be underlying mental health issues or frustration with the aging process that contribute to their emotional reactions.

When faced with anger or hostility, it’s crucial to remain calm and composed. Express your concerns in a gentle manner, using “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory. Let your parents know that you understand their feelings and acknowledge their emotions without judgment. Reassure them that you are there to support and help them through difficult moments.

“I understand that you’re feeling frustrated, and I want to find a solution together.”

Listening attentively is an important part of managing outbursts. Allow your parents to vent their frustrations and share their concerns. Validate their feelings and offer reassurance that you will work together to find a resolution. Showing empathy and understanding can help diffuse the situation and open the door to effective communication.

Strategies for Dealing with Anger, Hostility, and Outbursts:

  • Remain calm and composed
  • Express your concerns using “I” statements
  • Acknowledge their emotions without judgment
  • Reassure them of your support
  • Listen attentively and validate their feelings
Causes for Anger, Hostility, and Outbursts Strategies to Manage
Underlying mental health issues Encourage professional help and therapy
Frustration with the aging process Show empathy and provide reassurance
Feelings of powerlessness or loss of control Involve them in decision-making and give them choices
Communication barriers Use clear and simple language, avoid confrontation

Remember, dealing with anger, hostility, and outbursts from elderly parents can be challenging, but understanding their emotions and providing support can help diffuse difficult situations. With patience, empathy, and effective communication, you can foster a healthier and more positive relationship with your parents.


Dealing with stubborn elderly parents can be challenging, but by implementing a few key strategies, you can improve your relationship with them and find common ground. Patience, understanding, and effective communication are essential in navigating this situation with compassion and care.

Respecting your parents’ autonomy is crucial. Remember that they are adults with the right to make decisions, even if you disagree with them. Adjusting your expectations and avoiding power struggles can help reduce stress and tension.

When communicating with your elderly parents, use strategies that empower rather than push or nag. Involve them in decision-making, value their opinions, and be sensitive to their feelings. Finding common ground and compromising can bridge the communication gap and ensure that both their needs and safety are addressed.

Seeking outside support, whether from friends, support groups, or professionals, can provide valuable guidance and assistance in dealing with resistance. Planning for the future and thinking ahead can help prevent potential problems and ensure your parents receive the care they need. Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Coping with frustration and prioritizing self-care are vital to maintaining your own well-being while navigating this challenging situation.


How can I improve communication with my elderly parent who refuses to listen?

Effective communication starts with avoiding power struggles and involving your parent in decision-making. Use open-ended questions, be sensitive to their feelings, and treat them like the adults they are.

How can I find common ground and compromise with my elderly parent?

Understand their concerns and motivations, listen to their perspective, and work together to find solutions that address their needs while ensuring their safety and well-being.

When should I seek outside support for dealing with stubborn elderly parents?

Seek outside support when you need guidance, such as reaching out to friends, support groups, therapists, or mediators. In some cases, involving professionals like geriatric care managers or doctors can provide valuable assistance.

How can I plan ahead to prevent potential problems and challenges?

Encourage your parents to think about their future care needs and important milestones they want to be present for. Remind them of the importance of taking care of their health, even without a diagnosis of cognitive conditions.

How can I cope with frustration when dealing with stubborn elderly parents?

Seek support from friends, join support groups, or engage in activities that help you release negative emotions. Remember to prioritize self-care and understand that you can only do so much.

How can I understand the motivations behind my elderly parents’ behavior?

Take the time to understand if their behavior stems from habit, asserting independence, or struggles with depression or cognitive decline. Understanding their fears and concerns can help you approach the situation with empathy and find solutions.

How can I respect my elderly parents’ autonomy and treat them as adults?

Avoid behaviors like threatening to move them to a nursing home or insisting that you always know what’s best. Treat them with respect, involve them in decision-making, and value their autonomy.

How can I deal with anger, hostility, and outbursts from my elderly parents?

Approach these situations calmly, express your concerns, and provide reassurance that you’re there to support them. Understand potential causes, such as underlying mental health issues or frustration with the aging process.

What are the key tips for dealing with stubborn elderly parents?

The key tips include effective communication, respecting their autonomy, finding common ground, seeking outside support, planning ahead, and understanding their motivations behind their behavior.


Related Posts ...

Skip to content