How to Deal with Adult Children Problems

Health Secrets


Are you having problems with your adult children?

Elizabeth Vagnoni has, which led to her estrangement from her two adult sons.

She still loves and misses them so much and wants to tell them so – every day. But the deep silence between her and adult children get in the way.

What makes her so sad is that she deemed the problems they had were so small to have caused their estrangement, and her torment.

Elizabeth is not suffering alone. Problems with adult children have become so common it has become a “silent epidemic,” says Joshua Coleman, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families.

It is “silent” because elderly parents are hesitant to openly talk about them In fact, there is no data showing its magnitude. But some do share their sad stories online. For example this Dear Annie letter which was featured in the Psychology Today…


…My husband and I have three adult children who were the delight of our lives. We had a typical loving family, with vacations, birthday parties and special celebrations that included friends and extended family. We had anxious times during illnesses, surgeries, and accidents, but we made it through. All three of our children have grown to be successful, well-liked respected adults. Sadly, over the past 22 years, they have all chosen to shut us out of their lives. We’ve had minor disagreements at times but never any major battles that might justify their choices. None of them will tell us why they are angry….I know you’re probably thinking “there must be something.” If so, we don’t know what it is…We have forgiven our children…We will always thank Go for choosing us to be their parents.


While it is normal for families to have occasional disagreements, but most these problems are forgotten and forgiven after a short ceasefire, or a good sleep. A few linger on ultimately creating a chasm that divides elderly parents and adult children. If not properly dealt with, it can result to estrangement.

Parents are often clueless of the cause or causes of these problems. This is because, according to Elizabeth, of the conflict of expectations between the old and the new – the generation gap thing.

Elderly parents find it difficult to accept the current realities, while their adult children thrive on it. Elderly parents still want to hold sway over the lives of their adult children, while the children want to be rid of it.

For example, older generation value hard work, education, character and integrity as pre-requisites for success. On the other hand the FB generation, or whatever label they want to be identified with, eschew those values and will readily cite a string of examples to support their case.


I and my children:

My problems with my two adult children are quite different from that of Elizabeth’s. But it could end the same way if not dealt with effectively.

My children are not talking to each other and I am caught in between. Here is how it happened.

My first is a girl, and the second, a boy. Though only one year and nine months separated their birthdates they are like two peas from two pods.

Even at a tender age, the girt fought back if irked. On the other, the boy just cried and cried and cried.

In their formative years they lived harmoniously together like any other sister and brother. My daughter looked after her brother, and my son looking up to his sister.

Their divergent personalities started manifesting after college.

Right after getting her license as a doctor, my daughter immediately set up a clinic and obtained admission privileges from local hospitals.

My son, on the other hand, could hardly pass a job interview. And he resigned from one of his earlier jobs to join a band because, according to him, he wanted to be “famous.”

Then both got married. My daughter married a surgeon, while my son, a lady lawyer who is earning more than him.

If this has affected him psychologically, he has done a wonderful job hiding it.

My daughter measures her success by the growth of her bank account, while my son from the number of likes he gets from his FB posts.

My daughter nags him for lack of initiative and maturity. Defensively, he shoots back by calling his sister arrogant and insensitive.

These differences simmered for a long time, with me not minding it so much, until about a month ago for the silliest of reasons.

I have tried several ways to bring them back together; to make them talk to each other again. So far I have been unsuccessful. Each is as hard-headed as the other.

I love them both and I could never allow them to drift away from each other forever. I couldn’t live through the trauma and suffering of seeing them like strangers to one another.

My children are the only treasures I have since my wife died more than eight years ago, and it would be a disaster to lose them right before my eyes.

Right now I am giving my children some space, a slack – just like a fisherman wanting to land a price catch would, to avoid breaking his line..

I have also done a few DIY things to keep the storm turning into a tempest. These are:


Keep my cool:
Times have changed. There was a time when raising my voice would be enough to make them toe the line, keep them in step.

It would not work these days even if I roar and growl until I get hoarse. They have become their own persons, having their own set of values and beliefs which cannot change even if I use a megaphone

I can only steer them to a more appropriate and collaborative direction.


Think squarely and fairly:
I have always noticed their personality differences early on but assumed they will outgrow them.

I was wrong.

Now I have to accept my own shortcomings and their individual differences to be able to make do with what I have.

More often than not, life only gives us bits and pieces of a whole. It is up to us to put them together.

No matter how different their personalities may be, they are my children and it is up to me to put my family back to one beautiful piece.

To do that, I must exercise and use everything I’ve learned through the years.


Avoid the blame game:
Individually, I have good relationship with both. Getting them together is impossible for now.

This individual connectivity, if I may call it, is an opportunity to heal our differences, mend our shortcoming provided I won’t play one against the other.

We all failed each other and blaming any one for the problems we are in is counterproductive.

If there is one to blame, it is I for not doing something sooner.


Exercise humility:
It is a difficult pill to swallow for most, but sometime in any parent/child relationship, its formality must evolve into the informality of a friendship. That is the only way to achieve a more cordial, honest, respectful, and loving communication.

This, however, requires humility.

Times have changed so much. Technology has tainted our core values, our beliefs long demolished by changing paradigms. Clinging on those values and beliefs we inherited from our parents is not going to resonate well with our children.

And we must be humble enough to acknowledge all these in order to move forward.


Patience and perseverance are not among my core values. But concerning my children, I will walk the extra mile, carry an extra load, and sweat a little more.

I will do anything to heal the rift between my adult children – even if I have to persevere like I have never done before.

What would you have done if you were in my shoes?

I have always been a take-charge guy. In he workplace my mantra was “if you are not with me, get out of the way.”

Dealing with children, especially your own adult children, is not that easy and simple. It requires the deft and adroitness of a diplomat. We just couldn’t get rid of them. They are your flesh and blood, they carry your genes and you are partly to blame however they turn out later in life.

For them to drift away from your life, or being shut-off from theirs is a conviction of your having failed yourself and your children.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.


Is Moving to a Retirement Home Good?

To move or not to move.

Do you know what earth balling a tree is?

Earth balling a tree is the digging it out from the earth, in a circular shape, leaving most of its root system undisturbed and intact, and moving it to a predetermined place.

In more ways than one, earth balling a tree is very similar to moving to a retirement home.

First: It is done with good intentions;
Second: It requires uprooting an entire root system;
Third: Both are done after very careful consideration, evaluation and consultation to make sure the activity satisfies all the parties involved.

Moving to a retirement home requires no less amount of careful consideration, consultation, and evaluation because it can have very grave and irreversible repercussions.

According to the AARP, 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes. Of these, about 5% are thinking of moving to a retirement home (U.S. Bureau of Census), while another 5%, into nursing homes.

Read more

How to Avoid Financial Exploitation


This could happen to you…

Bob, a successful businessman suffered a stroke at age 60. A little later he suffered another one.

After the second, one his two sons moved in to take care of him. And he did.

First, he convinced his parents to move to a place where the climate is warmer.

Second, forging his parents’ signature, he moved their financial statements to a P.O. box address and instructed their financial advisor to wire funds into the new bank account.

By the time they knew it, he had already stolen $3 million dollars from his own parents, forcing his mother to put his father in a nursing home as she could no longer take care of him.

Read more

How to Protect Yourself from Elderly Abuse

Health Secrets
Do you want to be treated this way?

Of course, not! It will sadden you; it will ruin your self-respect. You will feel insulted, angry and, maybe, want to strike back at your tormentor if only you aren’t so weak and helpless.

Note: Video is a social experiment to raise people’s awareness to the growing menace of elderly abuse and to see how the public reacts to it.

I know how it feels because sometimes I get the receiving end of a-day-gone-bad from my children.

Read more

How to Prevent Budget Problems

Health Secrets

Do you know what I, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg have in common?

We all live according to a budget.

The difference is that while theirs can buy a yacht, I can’t afford a canoe with mine.

But that’s not the point. The point is, regardless how large or small your bank account is, you still must have a budget. In fact, the smaller your net worth is, the more you need to have a budget.

Read more

How to Develop Healthy Eating Habits in Our Senior Years

Do you eat like this?

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin may have said this in jest, but the message is as true now as it was when he said it. It becomes almost a tenet for some seniors where the effects of unbridled eating and drinking earlier in life are as unmistakable as traffic signs.

To a very large extent, people’s current state of health and well-being are the results of bygone days when they lived by the mantra, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

Read more

Why are DIY Things Beneficial to Elderly People

Health Secrets

I am currently touching up the vinyl tiles in my room. Over the years, some have become detached while others are broken around the edges.

Why I am doing this by myself instead of hiring someone? Two reasons: first, I can’t afford it and, second, I want to do it.

Oh, I am doing it slowly – one or two tiles every other day. There is no rush, and I don’t want to overstress my lower back. You know how it is with seniors.

Which brings me to the subject of this article – DIY (do-it-yourself) things. I thought of giving it some attention because I am a DIY person and want to share my inclination with other seniors to make them realize the beauty of doing some things around the house – easy, simple and cheap things.

It is a good tonic against loneliness and a excellent way to find purpose.

Other than its psychological aspect, DIY things have other benefits like:


1. Save money:
The money I have saved by doing it myself is not going to make me rich, but it can pay more than a week’s groceries.

I am sure I am not the only one keeping a close rein with my expenses. A lot of seniors, I am sure, are more cash-strapped than I am. Doing some DIY can ease the pressure.


2. Earn money:
I know of some who are earning from their hobbies like curtain making, hair dressing, car repairs and many others.

If you are good at some DIY stuff, I am sure there are always people who will pay for your skills. It may not be much, but like I said, it can buy you some needed groceries


3. Keep you busy:
With too much free time at your disposal, what better way to occupy yourself than by doing simple things around the house?

It is very fulfilling to do things you normally would have paid others do for you.


4. Slow down cognitive decline:
Doing DIY things involve a close coordination between eyes, hands, and brain. In short, it is a physical and mental activity that gives your brain that much-needed exercise.

It is also good to maintain hand dexterity and balance.

The sense of accomplishment for having done something feeds your ego and boosts your self-confidence.


5. Get connected with other people:
Offline and online are people who may be doing the same things as you. Consulting with them, exchanging views, sharing experiences, is a good way to establish a network of friends.

Many years ago I was a sales representative of a large petroleum corporation. My territory demanded that I take long drives each day to areas I hardly knew anybody in. I solved that problem by having my tennis gear at the back of my car. The first thing I did was to look for the tennis court at the end of each trip. That made me bond easily with some of the locals.

We are tribal in nature. People of the same tribe gravitate towards each other. Find your tribe and get connected.


6. Learn something new:
Learning something new is fun and fulfilling.

A couple of weeks back, my blog won’t open. I asked for assistance from my administrator who referred me to a tutorial that involved STPs (file transfer program) and html codes – subjects I am ignorant about. I am strictly a user, not a troubleshooter when it comes to the internal working of websites.

I was about to cast a curse on my blog administrator when I remembered a motivational quote I got earlier from the Net.

It says, “When there is an obstacle, don’t go around it. Don’t run from it. Go into it. Work with it. Explore it. Learn how to be with it and deal with it, and you’ll have a skill for life.”

And I did.

After two days of struggle, my blog was up and running. Not only have I learned STP, now I am sure I can handle the problem should it occur again.


7. It is liberating:
I have learned over the years that the best way of being disappointed or frustrated is to rely on others on things you can do yourself.

Doing DIY things frees you from that disappointment and frustration. It frees you from the hassle of doing constant follow-ups, of having to redo crappy jobs or late deliveries.

By doing it yourself, you get what you want, the way you want it and when you want it.

I am not sure when I can finish touching up the tiles in my room. But I am sure it will be done in the near future, and it will definitely look better than it is now.

And that is the beauty of doing DIY things. You can do it at your own pace, in a way you want it. Not to mention that they practically cost nothing but time and a huge amount of patience.



What Concerns Elderly People Most

Health Secrets

Happy days are here – finally!

In 2014 the annual average of retiring Americans was 4 million. For them, it meant the beginning of a new life. After many years of working, the time has finally come to shift from work life to home life.

The day they all have been yearning finally came – no more mad rush to the office each day, no more stress from meeting objectives and deadlines, no more pressure from subordinates and colleagues, no more demanding bosses to deal with.

For them, retirement is the beginning of a perfect life. Or is it?

For many, especially those who did not prepare for retirement, the euphoria is short-lived. Very soon they will be faced with very serious concerns common to a lot of seniors. These are:


1.  Money:
At retirement, you stop earning, yet continue spending. And if you don’t have a large enough retirement savings, investments or pension plans, money issues will stare at you directly in the face.

For example, according to the Employee and Benefits Research Institute and Greenwald and Associates, 28% of Americans say they have less than $1,000.00 in savings and investments for retirement, 1 in 3 Americans say they have no retirement savings and 56% say they have less than $10,000.00 saved for retirement.

For them, money is a very real issue. Some of them will be driven out of their homes into shelters for the homeless, live off meager social security benefits, and line up in soup kitchens in order to survive.


2.  Feeling Useless:
Suddenly left with nothing to do, at retirement a lot of seniors feel lost, useless, adrift and without a purpose.

This is especially true for those whose children have grown up and moved away to start their own lives.

According to psychologists, feeling useless is a mindset probably fed by negative beliefs dating back to one’s childhood.

Younger people can easily snap out of it but not seniors. More often than not, they need some support to make them feel important, needed and useful. They need help so they can find themselves back to the mainstream.


3.  Loneliness:
As we grow old, our social circle shrinks due to medical issues, death or relocation. And away from the regular interaction in the work environment, they suddenly feel alone and isolated.

Loneliness is one of the major issues faced by seniors that cannot be taken lightly as it can lead to various physical and mental issues. It can even lead to early death.

Live alone seniors and those with active social life in their adult years are particularly susceptible. They, too, need help in establishing a social circle they can identify and blend with.

Loneliness and feelings of isolation can be very debilitating.


4.  Neglect and Abuse:
Elderly abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual, exploitation, neglect and abandonment.

Rough estimates show that 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of abuse. Another study shows 1 in 14.

What is sad is that the perpetrators are mostly children, other family members and spouses. Some are perpetrated by nursing home staff, assisted living facilities, and other types of facilities for seniors.


5.  Health:
According to the NCOA (National Council on Aging), approximately 92% of seniors have at least 1 chronic disease, and 77% have at least two.

The most common are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, which account for two-thirds of all deaths among seniors each year.

These diseases also account for roughly 75% of all public expenditures for health care. Ironically, only 1% is spent on improving people’s overall health.

At retirement, most seniors are left to fend off for their health problems, adding more pressure to their money issues.


6.  Moving from one’s home:
Roughly 12.5 million elderly Americans live alone. For them, there is no place like home. And they don’t want to move; they prefer to live the rest of their lives at home.

Unfortunately, circumstances may dictate that they move to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. It a choice usually made by family and which they dislike. For them, it is an end-of-life situation.

It means leaving behind familiar surroundings, places, and people and be with strangers. Some easily adapt to their present reality, but others can’t.

I have long retired from my job and currently living alone in my home with a house helper to attend to my needs.

I am very familiar with most of these concerns, particularly money. So far my children have seen to it that I am well-provided and they haven’t subjected me to abuse or asked me to move to a nursing home.

But when you are old and depending on someone, you could never tell when the rug is pulled off your feet. I am still covered financially until the end of the year. That means I have to find a way of replenishing my fast-dwindling resources. Fortunately, I have the skills and healthy enough to do that.

Some seniors are not as lucky as I am (if you can call it that). They don’t have much room to wiggle out of these concerns. And these are very serious concerns. They can very well transform ones retirement from being idyllic to a living hell.

What about you? What are your concerns? Please join the discussion.



1 2 3