Helping parents realise they need to change

(19 Posts)
OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 13:29:43

Hello,

My parents are mid 60s and are probably functioning alcoholics. One had a history of heart disease and is now prediabetic. The other is a heavy smoker who is losing condition.

They basically need to give up the booze and sort their diet and exercise out.

Have you had relatives in a similar state? How did you get them to realise they had to make changes?

All advice is welcome.

OP’s posts: |
AmandaHoldensLips Sat 03-Apr-21 13:48:13

You can't change them. The sooner you accept this, the better. flowers

OMGisthisforreal Sat 03-Apr-21 14:02:21

Try having one sit down serious chat about this and be as blunt and honest as you can.
If they do not want any advice, encouragement, support, etc. then at least you know you tried.
Hopefully, however, your words might make a difference and you can help them both to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Then you must accept that you can’t change them, you can only change your own expectations and attitude towards them and their lifestyle choices.

OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 16:38:36

AmandaHoldensLips

You can't change them. The sooner you accept this, the better. flowers


You're probably right. But I'm the one who will have to look after them and do all the grunt work when their lifestyle catches up with them.

So I need to try.

OP’s posts: |
OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 16:40:40

OMGisthisforreal

Try having one sit down serious chat about this and be as blunt and honest as you can.
If they do not want any advice, encouragement, support, etc. then at least you know you tried.
Hopefully, however, your words might make a difference and you can help them both to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Then you must accept that you can’t change them, you can only change your own expectations and attitude towards them and their lifestyle choices.


I think this is the plan for now.

And if they don't make any changes, well then have to have the other difficult conversations about what we'll do about their creeping decrepitude. I have a job, a family and a life, I don't want to spend my good years mopping up after people who should have known better.

OP’s posts: |
OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 16:48:48

That sounds really selfish. And it is.

I do obviously want them to have long, healthy, enjoyable retirements too. They must feel really awful.

OP’s posts: |
shallIswim Sat 03-Apr-21 17:26:04

I wish my dad had changed before he lost his mobility and succumbed to dementia. Parlours state. Awful. But some of it would have been mitigated had he kept fit and had interests.
Too late now
But all my kind cajoling was never going to change him

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Elieza Sat 03-Apr-21 17:32:02

It’s human nature to think I won’t be the one in x amount run over by a bus, I won’t be the one in three that gets cancer etc. We all think it won’t be us. Until it is.

Plus if you do get type 2 diabetes you get put on medication. If your pre-diabetic parent is like the four type 2 diabetics I know then take that medication and continue in their bad habits, like it’s ok now as somehow the meds will sort me out, I’ll be fine, I’ll not be the one who gets permanent damage.

So I agree with pp. until they want to change you can’t do anything. They are addicted to their lifestyle.

You could perhaps try to raise their awareness of health issues but I think you will be on to plums as they probably know the risks of their poor lifestyle choices. If you start nagging you won’t be welcome.

It’s so sad that you can’t change people or cure their addiction.

Chewbecca Sat 03-Apr-21 18:22:32

You can’t change others, only yourself.

picklemewalnuts Sat 03-Apr-21 18:43:10

"But I'm the one who will have to look after them and do all the grunt work when their lifestyle catches up with them."

So don't. Tell them now they need to change their lifestyle while they can, and that there are limits to what you will be able to do for them.

HopeClearwater Sat 03-Apr-21 18:46:18

Yes, I’ve had relatives in a similar state, to use your words. Both drank themselves to death.

But I'm the one who will have to look after them and do all the grunt work when their lifestyle catches up with them

No siblings?

Do you really want to clean up shit? Because that’s what it can come to.

Motnight Sat 03-Apr-21 18:57:50

Op honestly don't sign yourself up for years of looking after one or both of your parents.

If I were you, I would have one conversation with them around their plans for when they are older and need support. Have they thought about this? Will they have money for carers? And then take a step back and let them get on with it.

I know how awful it is watching people you care about destroy their health, but it's not your responsibility.

Motnight Sat 03-Apr-21 18:59:27

OMGisthisforreal

Try having one sit down serious chat about this and be as blunt and honest as you can.
If they do not want any advice, encouragement, support, etc. then at least you know you tried.
Hopefully, however, your words might make a difference and you can help them both to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Then you must accept that you can’t change them, you can only change your own expectations and attitude towards them and their lifestyle choices.


Just realised that I have repeated the advice OMGisthisforreal gave!

OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 20:10:36

picklemewalnuts

"But I'm the one who will have to look after them and do all the grunt work when their lifestyle catches up with them."

So don't. Tell them now they need to change their lifestyle while they can, and that there are limits to what you will be able to do for them.


I plan to lay it out to them

OP’s posts: |
OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 20:11:00

HopeClearwater

Yes, I’ve had relatives in a similar state, to use your words. Both drank themselves to death.

But I'm the one who will have to look after them and do all the grunt work when their lifestyle catches up with them

No siblings?

Do you really want to clean up shit? Because that’s what it can come to.


Yes, but I'm geographically closest by several hundred miles

OP’s posts: |
OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 20:14:34

@Motnight yeah but it helps to be told twice!

So, plan is to lay it out for them, encourage them to make changes. When it becomes clear they won't, ask them how they plan to finance their care. Will they sell their house for residential care? Savings? Etc.

Might ask about funeral plans too. You never know when dementia will take the opportunity to discuss away. And diabetes + heart disease (potential for strokes) + alcoholism will very much hurry it along.

At least I'll know I've tried and will have the plan ready to go when they need it.

OP’s posts: |
Wallywobbles Sat 03-Apr-21 20:16:37

Then I suggest you tell everyone that you'd like everyone onboard for this discussion. That you will not be doing it. And that choices should be made now for the future. So do they want to go into care, have home care etc. Do they want o choose the care facility etc etc.

Lay it out to everyone in stark terms. And don't let anyone guilt you into saying something you'll regret. Good luck. I'm a fan of sorting this out early. I'm 50 and already have most of this sorted.

The pandemic was a kick up the arse for me. Not for many though.

OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 20:23:27

Well done @Wallywobbles

Yep, the siblings are wanting to be a bit more softly-softly about things, but they've got to this age without making any sensible choices.

However, being at the sharp end of it, and the one with the science background, I don't think they have more than 5-7 "healthy" years left.

Important to figure out the details now, like you say.

OP’s posts: |
OldPeopleBehavingBadly Sat 03-Apr-21 20:28:06

"but they've got to this age without making any sensible choices"

The olds re the sensible decisions, the sibs are pretty sensible but either not wanting to upset the olds or think its pointless trying.

OP’s posts: |

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