elderly care planning

Dealing with negative elderly parents in Kansas City

Dealing with negative elderly parents in Kansas City

It’s no secret that many of our elderly parents and grandparents have their moments. Whether it’s frustration at a pharmacy or even just a complaint about a waiter at a restaurant, we’ve all experienced those “oh no” moments with our aging loved ones.

As an elder law attorney in Missouri, we’re no stranger to the negative elderly parent-frustrated adult-child dynamic. The role reversal that comes with adult children caring for their elderly parents can feel like quite a shock to those who have grown up respecting and obeying their wishes.

Is there anything you can do to deal with negative elderly parents? In Kansas City, Paths Law Firm works with hundreds of clients across Missouri every year to help them find the right solutions for wills and trusts, asset protection, and even VA benefits and Medicaid.

Here are some healthy ways of dealing with this negativity so it doesn’t impact their care, or worse, your relationship.

First: Can I refuse to care for my elderly parents?

*This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The use of the Paths Law Firm website does not constitute a client-lawyer relationship.

The causes of negativity in elderly parents

Becoming negative with age at first may seem self-explanatory. Isn’t mom frustrated because she can’t get around like she used to?

Actually, there are a variety of other factors that could be causing your elderly parent to behave poorly or react negatively to small inconveniences. This could include:

  • Changes in medication
  • A physical illness or even infection (ever had a UTI? Not fun.)
  • Dementia or other mental ailment or illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Boredom
  • A sense of lost control
  • Hearing loss
  • And others

Most people know their parents very well. Have they always been negative? Or is it a recent development? Your insight may help determine the cause of their negativity and put you one step closer to dealing with it appropriately.

Dealing with negative elderly parents

Looking for tips on dealing with negative elderly parents in Kansas City? Here’s a good place to start.

1. Don’t get drawn in.

The absolute easiest way to curb dealing with negativity is to ignore it. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into their complaints or arguments. Separate yourself from the situation or their words and find healthy outlets to release any stress or frustration.

2. Find others to help you.

When dealing with a negative elderly parent, you may need to lean on a sibling or other family member to help care for your parent when you start to feel overwhelmed or defeated.

In fact, in a popular Forbes Magazine article, the first priority they list when dealing with elderly parents is to be sure to put yourself first sometimes. When you have a support system built around you and your parents, this becomes a much easier feat.

3. Stay away from triggers.

If you know your parent or grandparent is easily upset by certain topics such as politics, a specific person, or an activity, try to steer the direction away as much as you can even if they seem like they’re in a good mood. You should also avoid saying any hurtful or unproductive statements that may set them off.

4. Get professional help.

Seeking professional help from a variety of sources (such as a care assistant) can help mitigate your worry or frustration about your elderly parents. It may help lessen their frustration, too! When people get the care and resources they need especially if it involves a third party who will listen to their concerns and help them cope with their given situation it can greatly reduce the amount of negativity they feel.

Oh, and your elderly parent isn’t the only one that deserves help. You do too! A counselor or family therapist may be able to help you build coping mechanisms to help you deal with the toll their negativity may take on you. 

Learn more about elder care in Kansas City from the experts at Paths Elder Law

Dealing with negative elderly parents is no easy feat.

If you need more help with navigating the confusing world of end of life care and assisting your elderly parents, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Reach out to Paths Law Firm today to schedule a consultation and you’ll be one step closer to the peace of mind you’re searching for.


Educational Seminar at Paths Law Firm

Paths Law Firm provides a Free Educational Elder Law Seminar every month to help you plan for your future.

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan Foley at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 2018 and passed the Missouri Bar that year. Prior to law school, Ryan attended the University of Missouri – Columbia where he attained a degree in Business. He is a Kansas City native, growing up in the Northland where he achieved his Eagle Scout rank by doing a project for his high school. During his time in law school, Ryan was introduced to the practice area of Elder Law by one of his professors and has been

Ryan enjoys working with and educating clients to provide advocacy and support during the unfamiliar and often overwhelming probate process. Ryan understands the challenges faced by individuals when faced by the uncertainty and complexity of government systems or even handling a Trust during a time of grief, and he strives to make the process as easy as possible.

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

administrative assistant at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

Makaylee is currently working on her bachelor’s in political science and hopes to soon start law school as an aspiring attorney. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family but most importantly her dogs Taffyta, Tallulah Belle, and Harry. Their favorite thing to do is go on coffee dates and get pup cups.


Kathleen E. Overton

Kathleen Overton, attorney at Paths Law


Kathleen E. Overton

After starting her career as a disability attorney, Kathleen transitioned into estate planning at a mid-sized regional law firm. Kathleen joined Paths Law Firm in 2021 when she decided to return to a boutique law firm that provides excellent service and quality to clients. Because of her background as a disability attorney, she brings a thorough understanding of public benefits to each client meeting. At Paths Law FIrm, Kathleen focuses on traditional estate planning and business entity formation, providing tailored advice unique to each client’s situation.

Public Benefits Assistant

Tena K. Dooley

Public Benefits Assistant

Amanda D. Martin

I have my Associates in Applied Science and have over 20 years of office management experience. I have two daughters and one grandson.

During my time away from the office I enjoy spending time with my family.  I enjoy almost everything outdoors and my hobbies include fishing and gardening.


Sydney R. Morris

Paths Law elder law in Kansas City



Sydney is currently enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City pursuing an accounting degree and plans to later attend law school.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her nephews and volunteering at her local church.



Christy L. Phillips

client service manager at Paths Law


Christy L. Phillips

Phone: 816-640-8635
Email: [email protected]

Christy has 3 years of experience in Elder Law working for seniors and their families as a Benefits Coordinator processing Medicaid and VA applications. Prior to joining Paths Law Firm Christy worked in the finance industry for over 10 years.


Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as Benefits Coordinator. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to her relationship with her grandparents.

When asked why she loves what she does, Christy said that at Paths Elder law, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite part of her job is getting clients approved for Medicaid or VA benefits as it is a huge relief for them and their loved ones.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has two children that keep her busy and fill her life with joy! Christy’s daughter cheers for Avila University, and her son plays competitive baseball for the Bucks and races BMX locally for the Motorcycle Closeout Team.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and making homemade gifts for her loved ones and raising her kids to be healthy, happy, and positive humans.


Practice Areas

  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits


Professionalc Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary


René A. Fracassa

Rene A. Fracassa, Paths Law



René has worked along side Rusty for 35 years. Not only is she part of the Paths team, she is also his wife. René spends her time working with the accountant to keep all of the finances in order, as well as general office management.

In addition to helping run the office, she helps manage the family and grandkids, tries to keep everyone fed, and has a passion to teach Bible Studies. Her former career in Event Planning trained her to juggle all the activity. She understands Rusty’s passion to serve people from the first mention of law school. It is a great pleasure for her to be an important part of every area of his life.



Hilary R. Tichota

Hillary at Paths Law



Hilary plays a vital role in the daily operations of the office. In addition to her regular office duties, Hilary has a heart of gold.

For more than 5 years, Hilary has operated the front desk at Paths, running the office and catering to clients. Hilary recently moved into the role of Community Relations Coordinator. She has a passion for people and a focus to share our business practices with the community’s seniors, businesses, and clients. She especially has a heart for seniors, showing they are loved through her visits, treats, the “Pen to Pal” program, and volunteering services at various senior living communities. She is a wonderful wife and mother of two. Most activities with seniors involve her great talent for any type of craft.



Jennifer A. Bronson

Jennifer, senior paralegal



Jennifer has been in the legal field for over 25 years and considers Paths her second home.

When she’s not running the office or working for our clients, she’s spending time with her first passion – her children.


Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

attorney at Paths Law elder law


Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

Phone: 816-640-8635

When asked what he wants to do, his reply was “I just want to sit at the kitchen table and work directly with people.” Rusty enjoys working with clients providing experienced advocacy and supporting them through their unfamiliar and overwhelming situations. Due to all the challenges faced by seniors, it is essential to work with an experienced elder law attorney who has expertise in the law, issues, and concerns affecting seniors and their families.

Rusty brings nearly 30 years legal experience and expertise working for seniors and their families as an elder law attorney in Kansas City and surrounding. Prior to law school, Rusty was a practicing accountant. This provides invaluable experience in his current practice of law. Rusty decided to put his focus on helping the elderly, vulnerable adults, and their families navigate challenging life, end of life, and death events.

Rusty understands the challenges faced by individuals whose capacity is declining and how upsetting the loss of a loved one can be. He understands he may not be able to eliminate his client’s grief from loss, but he strives to provide clients with peace of mind. Rusty works directly with client’s long term care issues, including Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Special Needs Planning.

In 2010, Rusty’s faith and love led him and part of his family to China as Christian missionaries. He and his wife, went permanently, but ended up dedicating 3 years to that ministry. They returned to Missouri to help with grandchildren after a family tragedy and later began anew with Paths Elder Law. The goal is providing compassionate care through legal advocacy.

When Rusty is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, and excessive eating at local restaurants.


Practice Areas


  • Wills and Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits
  • Probate
  • Guardianship and Conservatorships
  • Education


BSBA and Master’s in Accounting, Master’s in Inter-Cultural Studies, and Doctorate in Juris Prudence

  • Rockhurst University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City

Admissions to Practice

  • Missouri

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of Missouri
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (long-time Member)
  • Elder Counsel (Charter and Ongoing Member)
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (Past Member)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Missouri State Bar Committees – Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate