In This Episode:
Dr. K addresses an older parent’s concerns and frustrations regarding her son’s attempts to help her with her health, and their differing views on what she needs. She covers:
- What to do if you’re an older parent frustrated by your adult child’s concerns for you
- How to communicate better and help your family understand what matters most to you
- Why it’s essential to address goals, priorities, and advance planning
- Why everyone needs to think about acceptance and boundaries
- The importance of fostering a stronger relationship and more connectedness
- Why older adults should be very careful about entirely cutting off their adult children
- How to negotiate a better way forward, and how to get help doing so
028 – When Older Parents Resist Help: 4 Tips for Better Talks
077 – Interview: Making Advance Care Planning Easier Through PREPARE
036 – Interview: Minimizing Family Conflicts & Supporting Aging Parents
013 – Interview: Solving Hard Problems in Helping Aging Parents
- A frustrated older parent’s comment as posted on BHWA
- Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
- 4 Things to Do When Your Parents Are Resisting Help
- What to know about aging life care professionals
Thank you Dr. Kernisan. My sister and I are Adult Children of our Widowed Mother. She is 78, and lives alone, and is having memory and reasoning problems. Shes has had Hallucinations in the past. She still has some. But, seems to be better since she has had an eye touch-up procedure on her good eye. She is blind in the other eye. She also has some Cerebral Vascular small vessel narrowing. I am much in the same situation as the gentleman in this podcast. Several of my mothers doctor’s has suggested that she have Neuropsychological Testing. She will not go to any doctor, nor complete a POA, DPOA, use a medical alert, etc. It has been explained to her the reasons for our request. Not really sure what to do at this point???
Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH says
Sorry to hear of your situation. It is difficult, albeit not uncommon.
There is generally no easy solution. What is almost certainly not going to work is explanations. What can work better is to start by talking to her with the goal of learning more about how she sees the situation, what are her main concerns, and what are her goals. Validate everything you can and try to create a positive vibe. Then, use what you’ve learned about what’s important and frame your suggestions as ways to help her achieve HER goals. So for instance, perhaps she doesn’t want to go to the doctor but if she said she wants to remain independent and live at home, is there a way to frame the doctor’s visit as something that will help her with that goal?
Otherwise, if you are really concerned about her memory and reasoning and think she might be at risk of financial abuse or self-neglect, then you can call Adult Protective Services. I also have some other suggestions on what you can try in this article:
6 Causes of Paranoia in Aging
One last minor point: I generally don’t recommend neuropsychological testing for people like your mother, as it’s very extensive and tiring. Usually, an in-office MOCA test plus a report of specific things the person is having difficulty with is sufficient. I have more on evaluating cognitive impairment here:
Cognitive Impairment in Aging: 10 Common Causes & 10 Things the Doctor Should Check
Thank you so much Dr. Kernisan for your knowledge and support.