By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion
QUESTION: My lover is older than I am and I want to honor his characteristics and idiosyncrasies, but he has one habit that drives me crazy. How can I broach this issue? And can I broach this issue? Scott in New Zealand
ANSWER: Yes, you can broach the issue, Scott. Habits are formed by repeating something over and over again. These habits can often be counterproductive, so help your elder correct any bad habits that you notice. The old saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" doesn't really apply to the elderly. Anyone and everyone can improve if they want to, especially if they're shown a better way to live.
Once the rationale has been accepted for a new way of thinking and behaving, change can occur, no matter how ingrained a habit may be. I've seen the elderly change bad eating, behavior, and personality habits, so don't lose faith if the results don't materialize immediately.
©2006 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.