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Managing Relationships with Elderly Individuals During a Pandemic

1984D558-6A88-4987-AFC9-5C152F58604EOver the past several months during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have received numerous calls and e-mails from adult clients looking for advice in regard to their elderly parents during this time. 

The interesting part about the calls is that they range from one end of the spectrum to the other, but ultimately the bottom line is that their elderly parents will not listen to them and will not take their advice. 

In some instances, elderly individuals are panicking and taking the current guidelines and measures to an extreme and are refusing to leave their home for any reason, at any time, for any purpose. As this has been going on several months now, children worry about their parents not having left the house and having their groceries delivered and not stepping foot out of the house since March. 

They worry about their socialization as well as their health and maybe, most importantly, their mental wellbeing.  The part to remember is that it is ultimately the adult’s choice as to how they feel and how they want to react during this situation, but we recommend offering different ideas and options of things that they could do to keep their mind and body active, even if they are staying within the home.  Such as exercise videos, puzzles, word searches, coloring books, books, books on tape, crafts, video class on a tablet, anything that will keep their mind engaged. 

We also see the other extreme as a concern for many adults in regard to their aging parents who don’t believe any of it is real and are out and about visiting their friends, traveling, looking for the next great bargain on a cruise or a trip out of the country. The kids are concerned for their parent’s wellbeing, because they are of the age that are of the most vulnerable population  They struggle with realizing that they can’t make their parents stay home and can’t make them stop going out and hanging out with people that they don’t know and venues that they don’t know are safe or not.  

Although these are two opposite extremes of the same situation, many children are facing one or the other as an issue currently. We highly recommend that you talk to your parents in an honest and open conversation and express your concerns.  Offer different alternatives to either extreme or how they can meet you in the middle. 

Ultimately, please remember that they are adult individuals who are able to make their own choices and decisions.  In the words of a judge about 15 years ago, “an adult is allowed to make a bad decision, heck, we do all the time.”  Your job as a child is to support your parents and yes, provide options and ideas and express your concerns but ultimately be there to support them in the decisions that they are making until you don’t believe that those decisions are safe.  We certainly wish you nothing but the best during this time and are here if you need thoughts, ideas and options.  

If you have questions about this or anything else estate planning or elder law related, please consider joining us for one of our upcoming workshops.  You can RSVP by clicking here.