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How to Deal With a Bitter Aging Parent

by Renee Marcus on 7/16/15 7:30 AM

Whether you serve as the caregiver of your parent or you have limited contact with your parent, it's not easy to deal with a bitter aging parent. However, there are things that you can do to make interacting with your parent easier and more pleasant. 

Dealing with a Bitter and Aging Parent

  • Your parent may feel that others diminish their thoughts and feelings or simply just don't care. While you may not want to hear your parents negativity, encourage your parent to express himself. This is a great way for him to get something off his chest and feel heard. Be careful not to take what he says personally and simply just listen.
  • Exercise patience. Your parent likely can't do everything for herself anymore and needs to rely on you for certain things. When this happens, she might want the task done as if she were doing it. This can be a frustrating experience, but if need be, take a short break before doing the task. 
  • Do not argue with your aging parent. If you can sense an argument coming on, change the subject to something that interests your parent, tell a joke, or leave the room for a few minutes. 
  • If your parent makes negative comments about you, focus on the positives about yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with your aging parent and try to brush off any negative comments made towards you.
  • Know when to walk away and take a break from your parent. This allows both you and your parent to calm down and be able to interact better.
  • If your parent has been treating you poorly and is aware of it, consider having a heartfelt conversation with him. Tell him how his comments make you feel.
  • Mentally prepare yourself before interacting with your bitter aging parent, which will allow you to exercise more patience.
  • Create a good support system of friends and family. This can be particularly helpful when you need someone to talk to about your frustrations with your parent. 

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