More threads by HA


I need some advice on helping my parents with their relationship. My mother is 75 and my father 79. They are relatively healthy and content with their married life. My father, though, has had one knee replaced and is booked to have the other knee done in Jan. The first knee was replaced last Spring and has recovered well but it was a painful recovery. He has chronic pain from the knee that needs replacement and his mobility is limited but he gets around.

My mother does not drive and my father can't drive with his condition. Myself and my brothers help them out when they need it. I visit to keep them company a few times a month as they live 2hrs from me.

My mother and father are fighting a great deal recently. My mother is constantly on his case for everything and claims he can't do anything right including choose his clothes for Christmas day! My father is being affected by the stress. My mother can't stand to be in the same room with him because his breathing gets on her nerves. She is very stressed and recognizes that she is over the top with nagging but does not know what to do to stop.

What can be done to help them out?


There are medications for depression with anxiety that really work wonders for older people. Sounds like your mother might be a candidate for one of them. It's got to be hard to be trapped in the house 24/7, unless somebody else is available and willing to take you out. I don't care how much two people love each other, being together all the time is a strain on any relationship.

I'd suggest you offer to go to their next doctor's visit and discuss the problems they're having and possible ways to make things easier.



Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, the 24/7 togetherness is something I have addressed with my mother in the past. There was a time about a month after he came home from the first knee surgery that she was severely depressed. I went every weekend and took her out. I do this now but even with this she is as I described. My father would prefer to stay in even when well.

I may have to address medication again with mom. I tried on the previous time and she just flatly refused to consider it. She is on thyroid and diabetes meds plus high blood pressure and said she was not adding any more pills to the too many she is already taking. I also suggested she see her doctor to see if her medication needed to be adjusted. She did do this and I think there was some adjustments made. The problem is, she really does feel that her behaviour is justified. It's not her it's him that's the problem. She really is the problem. My poor father.

There sure does not seem to be much love flowing around that house these days.



What a difficult situation. My idea may not be feasible, but is it possible to hire a part-time caregiver? This could take some of the burden off of your family. Your mother may feel overwhelmed/scared by responsibility which leads to resentment and acting out. A caregiver could do the driving, grocery shopping, etc. The problem is the expense! But it's worth every penny if you can manage it.




That's a good idea if it can be put into place. You know, I never even thought of my parents as needing a caregiver. Maybe someone to just be a driver. They do pay someone to do all of their yard work which none of us had the time to commit to.



I was thinking about this issue with my parents this morning and wondered if seniors go to marriage counselling.

My parents, despite some rough patches, benefit from each others company, financial support, physical support etc. This made me wonder about what the late senior years will be like for many in my generation (babyboomer) who are divorced and do not remarry.

Are there more married couples of my parents generation then mine?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I suspect that may be truie, HeartArt, for several reasons. Our parents' generation are less likely to see divorce as an option and even if they get past that it was more common for women to be stay at home moms and therefore to have little or no means of independent financial support, which creates a significant financial barrier to separation for both of them.

Seniors do indeed go to marriage counselling (I've had a few) but I have to say that often there is so much accumulated anger by the time they do that the prognosis is not great.
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