Elderly Parents Are Creatures Of Habit


What things have you noticed about your elderly loved ones that they don’t like to change?Ever notice how the elderly loved ones in your life are creatures of habit?

They must eat at the same time, every day, no matter what. If the clock strikes a certain hour, my mother-in-law will eat, specifically lunch at noon and dinner at 5pm. It’s like clock-work, no pun intended. If we are going to visit her to make sure she’s eating a meal, we must get there before noon or 5pm, or she eat without us (and she won’t remember we said we were coming for lunch or dinner). One time we went out with the family for a late breakfast and we all had these huge omelets which were so filling. We got back to her house around noontime and she was insisting it was time to eat. We were all so stuffed that we could barely move. It seemed impossible that her stomach or her brain said she was hungry, but she had to eat. So, she had a ham sandwich and was satisfied. Pretty amazing.

A lot of elderly folks like to be home for a certain time and/or only want to visit for what seems to be about a 2 hour window. We’ve seen this so many times that my husband will say that they’ll “turn into pumpkins” if they stay too long. So, if we plan a function or party at our house, we need to make sure the main meal or festivities are held within that first 2 hours before we need to bring them home or they will be irritated until they are able to go home.

They like the same clothes, shoes, brands of personal items, etc. All of our elders seem to like the same types of clothes and shoes and such. My mother-in-law has several of the same shirts and sweaters, and in different colors. She has several pairs of the same exact shoes, because she likes them. She usually never wants to mix things up and buys multiples of whatever she likes. She received a really nice pajama set and robe for Christmas but won’t wear them, since they are not her typical bedtime clothing items.

They often won’t want to try new things. This is obviously because they like routine and the same things all the time. They often won’t try new foods, new TV shows or any new things, since they are different from what they are used to. I would often try to have my father try new foods and he always resisted, not just because he was a picky eater. He would not try anything new, even if it was not adventurous in anyway. Although one time I bought a new brand of potato chips that he frowned upon, since they weren’t his typical brand. Later that month, I found he bought several bags of that “new” brand of chips and put them in the cupboard. When I told him I noticed the chips he bought, he then admitted he did like the chips after all and so he stocked up on them when they were on sale!

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