I need help in dealing with nearly constant squabbling between my elderly parents. In most every conversation they have one of them either corrects the other over something trivial in a less than respectful manner or makes a snide comment about what was said. Dad is 89 and Mom is 81 and both are in fair to good health and still living in their own home with help from me. I am to the point where I dread going over to their home. Does anyone have a suggestion?

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They love it! That's their way of communicating and likely always has been it's just gotten worse with fewer distractions, such as jobs. You can't change other people, so the only thing you can do is learn to detach. This is very hard - I had to do some of it, so I know how hard it is, first hand.

If you are gutsy, you can listen as long as you can and then just say you have to leave as their squabbling is too hard on you. That may help some, at least temporarily.

I'm kind of wimpy with those things, so I had to just say I had to get going, and leave. If your visits are shorter when you stop in, they may get the message. Temporarily.

This is much like when you know that outside activities or more exercise would be better for them. If they won't do it, nagging won't get them there. So, you have to realize that they have made a decision to live this way, and detach yourself enough so that you don't suffer from their dysfunction.

Squabbling is a decision they have made. It's how they choose to live. You have to protect yourself the best you can, and detach by understanding that they are "happy" with their choice. Good luck and check in often. I think you will enjoy the company here. We know what you are going through.

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