What age counts as the older parent

Examples of stubborn old age: When old parents get difficult

“I know what is right for me.” A sentence that children, as adults, hear all too often from their parents. They only want the best for their parents. Such behavior can be fatal, especially in times of the Corona Virus! How do children manage to have a relaxed and open conversation with their parents about problem situations in their everyday life? Helpful tips are waiting for you.

Why don't my parents understand me?

How can I prevent my father from leaving the house and not going shopping? Because especially in times of the Corona Virus, older people should stay at home. How can I help him to remain independent for as long as possible? What aids and services are there for the elderly and the chronically ill? All questions that have only one goal: That your own parents stay healthy for as long as possible and can stay in their own four walls for as long as possible. That is also possible. You just have to take care of it early enough. Many children would like that - if their parents would only let them.

Who has not heard this statement from his parents often enough: “I know what is right for me myself.” Why don't my parents understand that I only want the best for them and that I care for them?

They experienced the war as young people, and many even had to leave their homeland. Even a corona virus can no longer scare them. They learned to bite through to survive. Often they could only rely on themselves. Admitting weaknesses now or even accepting help is therefore difficult for many old people.

In addition, the war generation is experiencing a difficult balancing act today. On the one hand, life expectancy has increased. Whereas in 1980 a 60-year-old man could statistically expect another 16.5 years of life and a woman of the same age 20.8 years, a 60-year-old today has an average of 20.7 years ahead of him, a 60-year-old woman 24, 6 years. On the other hand, around 30 percent of people over 80 years of age are in need of care.

For most of them, serious physical and mental impairments begin around the age of 75 - but then often in a concentrated manner and much too quickly to adapt to them. For many, it is then an arduous process to accept the limitations that come with age.

Many parents are resistant to advice


Many children are realizing that their parents are beginning to need more help. They see how their parents can no longer do some things that used to be taken for granted, or how difficult it has become for them to cope with everyday life on their own. In addition, there is the current situation with the corona pandemic, where we will be even more worried about our parents. But our fears only crash into a wall. Many equate this with stubborn old age. Others claim their parents are resistant to advice.

So it is not surprising that conversations between adult children and their elderly parents are often difficult. This is not infrequently also due to us children. Either we cannot get out of our child role, we only make hints and avoid any serious conversation. Or we suddenly start treating parents like toddlers. Both are definitely wrong!

A conversation should always be conducted on an equal footing, with respect and understanding for one another. In addition, it is advisable to seek the conversation in a quiet minute and not when everyone is stressed or an acute situation is present.

It is also important as a child to put yourself in the shoes of your parents and to consider why they react so negatively. Maybe because they are afraid of giving up their independence. Loss of autonomy is a painful process for everyone. Nobody, including us, wants to make us dependent on other people so easily and give up our independence.


Under these conditions, conversations with parents can be very different.

Why parents still go shopping in the corona crisis

Seniors belong to the risk group, especially those with previous illnesses. As long as the corona pandemic has Germany under control, you should avoid leaving your home as much as possible. Yet despite all these warnings, they still go shopping. “We don't want anyone to help us. There's also a lot of hysteria right now. I am fine. Thank you very much. ”You hear sentences like this when you ask your parents about them. How can I make them understand now that it is vital to stay at home, even if it is difficult. As a child it is also difficult.

"The older we get, the more we live according to routines and automatisms." , explains Joachim Schottmann, psychologist and trauma therapist at the Cologne-based company Human Protect. Shopping in the supermarket is one of the most important routines for many older people. “Independent shopping gives a feeling of security and structure.” As a child, you should reflect on that before criticizing your parents. Before you make it clear to your parents how important it is to stay at home because of the corona virus, you should take away your parents' concerns that they could be a burden to someone. Only then do you make it clear to them that they will make a major contribution to overcoming the crisis if they do not go shopping for a while.

There are now delivery services in many places that your parents can use. Like the one from ProVita. Everything is delivered quickly and easily without direct customer contact. In strict compliance with the hygiene regulations specified by the Robert Koch Institute. "The delivery service is as follows:

  • The shopping list is recorded in advance by telephone by the supervisor and the cash is handed over contactless.
  • The supervisors then leave the shopping on the doorstep, including receipt and change.
  • After submission, the caregiver informs the person concerned by telephone so that the person concerned can take all the items they need on their doorstep.

The delivery service is there for you in the regions of COLOGNE // ESSEN // WUPPERTAL // LEVERKUSEN. Contact: by phone: 0221 4678 1970 or by email: [email protected]

The barrier-free bathroom

If, as a child, you are afraid that one of your parents could slip or fall in the bathroom and have difficulties with daily hygiene in mind, you should explain the advantages of a barrier-free bathroom to your parents in a very factual manner. It is not uncommon for answers such as: “I've never slipped in it. Besides, child, a new bathroom - do you know what that will cost? "

Then you know that it is now your job to discuss it with your parents in order to convince them step by step. First of all, put yourself in your parents' shoes. It is a major turning point in their own home, in their beloved home. Therefore, handle this issue with care. You yourself don't want to be told how your apartment should look like.

Perhaps you start by telling them that you would like to have a bath like this yourself. A stepless shower or smooth bathroom back walls that are easy to clean. Perhaps you will also show them what financial options there are if you want to renovate the bathroom in an age-appropriate manner. Make it clear to your parents that they will only benefit from such a bathroom renovation, including living for a long time in their beloved four walls.

It is important to discuss the conversation at eye level and possibly get someone who is familiar with this topic. Often the parents can also be convinced by a professional.

Driving in old age

A particular problem for adult children with their parents is the subject of “driving a car in old age”. As long as you can see that your father or mother is still fit and alert when driving, everything is fine. But if you notice that other road users are at risk, they are asked to act.

When driving a car, it is difficult to break through the stubbornness of your parents. Who would happily do without Germany's favorite child - the car? For someone who has driven their entire life, surrendering their driver's license is a major turning point. Here you have to have a very good alternative ready for the mobility of your parents. First of all, you should be clear about the important distances covered by the car. Is it just the leisure activities or does it also concern trips to shopping. There are regions where you can be lost without a car. You should bear all of this in mind when, for example, advising your 80-year-old father to surrender his driver's license. Here, too, as a child, you have to be very sensitive but just as consistent in influencing the father's decision so that he becomes aware of his limits and gives up his driver's license. Even if that means a major cut in his independence. Therefore, it cannot just be about surrendering the driver's license, but at the same time the question of how the life situation of the father can be preserved as best as possible without his own car.

The new pet

But even with little things, like buying a dog, parents and children can have different ideas. "I would love to have a dog that keeps me busy," says the father, and he sees himself running happily through the woods and meadows with his loyal companion. On the other hand, you can already see him stumble and fall over the maddening animal or sit alone in the forest gasping for breath. "That is far too exhausting for you," you are simply saying.

But of course that is the wrong answer. Rejoice for him that he plans his life so vitally. But when the time is right, let him know of your worries. Then solutions can always be found. A mobile emergency call may be enough. It can be worn inconspicuously on a keychain. So you no longer have to worry about him, because you know that he is well protected in an emergency and you will receive a message immediately. A good compromise that can be mutually beneficial.

The everyday assistant


Everyday shopping is easier when someone is around to carry the heavy shopping bag. Like an everyday assistant.

If you watch your own 81-year-old mother cleaning windows on a wobbly ladder, you immediately imagine the worst scenarios. As soon as you address this, you always get the same answers: “That's how I always did it. A help? No, I don't like strangers in my house. Nothing has ever happened to me before. ”The mother simply says that one no longer trusts her to be able to look after her apartment herself.

Perhaps you invite someone to tell your mother about their experiences with their cleaning lady or an everyday assistant: "I can hardly imagine life without my everyday assistant", "She is absolutely reliable". Perhaps your mother will then get a taste for it and try out a help herself. When she then eventually realizes that the new help is a pearl and she is happy to see how well-kept her apartment is again.

What helps to avoid talking against the wall?

There are countless other examples and scenarios that lead to difficult discussions between children and parents. Ultimately, however, the point is that both sides have to learn step by step to deal with the new type of relationship. Aggressive and negative attitudes are normal. Here are a few tips on what children can watch out for when they have the feeling of "talking against the wall" again.

This helps:

  • Change of perspective (Why do my parents react so negatively? What is the fear behind this?)
  • Seek help for yourself (Self-help groups for example, internet forums, exchange is important)
  • Seek help for parents (professional nursing service, nursing outpatient clinic, volunteer helpers)
  • Involve third parties (Friends of the parents, neighbors, relatives, pastors; third parties can mediate. It is easier for them to speak to their parents.)
  • Communication at eye level (Do not be condescending, do not be destructive. Do not emphasize what the parents can no longer do. That demeans them.)
  • Together Find compromises (You hand in your driver's license, we will make sure that someone drives you to sports, skat, shopping.)
  • If you're angry, dearly go out and take a deep breath.
  • Relaxation and always take care of yourself.