Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024
Aging Parents

Who hasn’t felt like throwing in the towel when dealing with an aging parent who can be stubborn and difficult? But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some strategies for dealing with problematic behaviors in aging parents while retaining your sanity and peace of mind.

Age-Inappropriate Behavior Examples

Age-inappropriate behaviors that children may experience with their aging parents could include demanding more attention or financial assistance, questioning their ability to make decisions, becoming more impatient, and feeling they need help but not wanting it. Some people might feel they are a caregiver even if they are not. As you know, dealing with stubborn behaviors can be difficult at any age, and when it’s your aging parent, this is just the beginning of a lifetime of work in many ways. The following tips will help you learn how to deal with these problematic behaviors of an aging parent.

Attitude Problem

Your parents are aging, so it is your job to ensure they’re comfortable. Sometimes this means dealing with stubborn behaviors, like refusing a bath or going out of the house. You must get all the facts before going on a rescue mission; otherwise, you may make things worse. Answering these questions may help: Why is she refusing? What can I do to make her happy?

Rude, Cranky, Argumentative

Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do with an aging parent that is often rude, cranky, or argumentative. Knowing how to cope when they show these behaviors and how long they are likely to last can help you determine the best course of action. If your parent is displaying mood swings that include these three challenging behaviors, then they may have been diagnosed with dementia.

1) What’s going on? 2) Remembering their limitations 3) Dealing with stubbornness

Unreasonable Demands

Dealing with stubborn parents can be tricky. If you’re faced with this situation, remember that people in their nineties can have the mental and physical abilities of someone in their sixties. They may need extra help or assistance under challenging tasks like getting dressed or managing money. Remind them when they are doing something unreasonable.


What many people don’t realize is that what seems like a symptom of aging could be an indication of something more serious. Take, for example, a pervasive and persistent forgetfulness, in which the older person can’t remember anything, even things they did an hour ago.

This is due to Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), which affects up to 30% of individuals over age 65.

Poor Hygiene

Aging parents may develop unpleasant odors that are tough to eliminate, such as body odor and bad breath. This can make your home environment unbearable. They may also have poor hygiene habits or difficulty remembering what they need to do. Here is a solution to the dilemma: 

– A part-time home health care worker can come in a few hours a day and help them clean up, change clothes, and offer companionship.

Silliness and Childishness

Dealing with an aging parent’s changing behavior can be difficult for all parties involved. Thankfully, there are some different things you can do when this happens. First, try and identify the type of change. Is it silliness or childishness? If your aging parent seems more playful and carefree than usual, this could be a side effect of medication. You’ll want to talk to their doctor about adjusting dosages or possibly swapping medications.

Combative Behavior

If your aging parent becomes combative, it can be difficult to deal with, and this behavior may make you feel scared or trapped. Here are some things you can do if your parent is behaving in a way that makes you uncomfortable 

1) Try not to take their anger personally; 

2) Set limits for what you will allow them to say or do; 

3) Do not try to reason with someone angry; 

4) Try not to show fear when dealing with an angry person.

Changing Lifestyles (and not adapting well to new ones)

Stressing about how you should care for an aging parent and what changes might be best for them is normal. But you also need to think about what your needs are as well. What do you need from your parents? And what does it look like when they’re happy and healthy? Recognizing the difficulties of their behavior is important, but knowing what to do with an aging parent means thinking about yourself too.

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Early Signs of Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

When a parent is experiencing early signs of dementia, what to do with an aging parent can be confusing. Even with an excellent understanding of the situation, coping with a progressively worsening illness will never be easy. However, remember that you are not alone; many others will support you through this difficult time. 

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Loneliness and Feeling Abandoned

While not every aging parent will be difficult, those who experience significant cognitive impairment may feel a sense of isolation or abandonment. The challenge for their child is knowing what to do with an aging parent when behaviors are challenging. 

The foremost step is to understand the behavior’s root cause. Is the person trying to reach out and be heard? Trying to make it clear that they’re not just being obstinate for the sake of being obstinate?

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