If you try to do everything that is best for your aging parents or relative you may hit resistance from the very person you are trying to help. Maybe you want them to exercise, eat better, stop smoking or stop driving. You have been understanding, tough, screamed, begged and used logic. Nothing you do changes the situation. What is your next step? Maybe you should give up.

Of course, if your relative is starting small kitchen fires in their apartment building, wandering outside in the cold or having a series of small car accidents, it is time to involve their health care provider so that they don’t injure themselves and/or someone else. The worse thing that anyone can go through is the guilt, and possible criminal charges, for having harmed or killed someone else.

What do you do if your relative still eats half a box of cookies every day, never gets off the couch, doesn’t take their medicine even when they know better? They will probably have repercussions from their behavior. It might even shorten their life. You may want to talk to their health care provider about the possibility of depression. Someone with depression may not have the desire to help themselves and medication and therapy can make a huge difference.

If that doesn’t work or is not a solution, there is not much you can do if you do not have guardianship over that person. Guardianship is not easy to obtain, despite what you hear about Brittany. If you feel your relative understands the repercussions of their behavior, even fairly well, it is their choice to live that way. Have you considered that maybe they would rather live a shorter, but what they consider a more pleasurable life?

Your other solution is to give up the nagging, screaming and begging and enjoy your parent while they are still here. Letting them continue with their destructive behaviors that hurts only them might seem like the wrong thing to do, but just might preserve the relationship you have with them for the rest of their time on earth. This means you will have to tell yourself that you have done all you can do and be at peace with that.

Think of it this way, would you rather have your parent alive for a few more months but be barely speaking to them, or have a relationship you will cherish for the rest of your life, albeit for a shorter time. Be at peace with the relationship you do have and not regrets about what you could not change anyway.