My Mom is so stubborn!

  • Written by Lisa Yeager, Sno Valley Senior Center

It’s the holidays. That means that adult children are home to see parents they haven’t seen for a while.  Sometimes they are surprised at how frail or old mom or dad is looking.  Social worker Mark Harvey of Washington’s DSHS says, “Adult Children worry about their parents because they want them to be OK. To be safe. And for some, safe is another word for love.”

So then they call the Senior Center.  They want to make sure mom or dad is taken care of before they head home.

They say things like, “She won’t move out of that big house with so much yard to care for.” “She won’t move in with me or move to an assisted living.” “She won’t quit driving.” “She won’t leave the house.” Then finally an exasperated “She’s so stubborn!”
In other words, she’s so stubborn because she won’t do what her children want. 

We all want the best for our parents. But we can’t cocoon them anymore than we can protect our children from everything.

That doesn’t mean we can’t help them be aware of options and resources or go with them the first time to the Senior Center to have a hot homemade lunch with them at noon or to join them for one of the fitness classes (first one is always free!). Talk to our social worker Kelly Fujiwara at 425-333-4152, ext7 or e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about any concerns. She knows lots of resources and has volunteers who can help out in many ways, including being friendly visitors. We also provide transportation and lots of fun things to do. 

That said, mom might be scared and doesn’t know what to do or what kind of help is out there. Maybe she doesn’t want to burden you. You’ve been her life for a long time so she worries about you too. 

Help is only help if it helps and unwanted help doesn’t.  So be prepared to listen, really listen to what she wants. Negotiate with her how she can be safer and put your mind at ease.  Help her make the decisions but remember it’s her life and her decision. 

Talk to a doctor or social worker if you are seeing memory problems that would prevent her from making a rational decision.  Remember people don’t get to be that age without some life skills.

Lisa Yeager, Director of the Sno-Valley Senior Center, 4610 Stephens, Carnation, WA 98014, 425-333-4152

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