If you’re an only child making decisions about your aging parent’s care, having that responsibility fall squarely on your shoulders can be stressful. It can also be challenging to decide on the type and amount of care your parent needs if you have brothers and/or sisters. There are often bruised feelings between siblings carried over from childhood that cause conflict over the care a parent needs.
While some families avoid conflict concerning their parent’s care by having conversations before care is needed, many children aren’t prepared for their parent’s decline in physical or mental health. Working together to create a care plan only produces frustration and hurt feelings.
If your family is experiencing conflicts about how to best take care of Mom and/or Dad, here are some suggestions to resolve them amicably and ensure your parent’s care needs are met.
Have a family meeting
When you were young and arguing with your siblings, you probably went to your mom or dad and told them how you were being wronged. Your parents probably told you and your brother or sister to put your heads together and solve the problem yourselves. While this strategy didn’t always work, it was a good starting point. And it still is.
Oftentimes, family conflicts over a parent’s care are a misunderstanding caused by miscommunication. Sitting down together and talking things through often leads to conflict resolution, and everyone’s needs are met.
If you and your siblings don’t live near each other and getting together in person isn’t possible, have a family meeting on FaceTime or Zoom. If your relationship is extremely strained, cordial emails explaining your thoughts and feelings about your parent’s care can help remove roadblocks to resolution.
Hire a geriatric care manager
If your conflicts can’t be resolved by having a family meeting or a series of discussions, you may need to bring in outside help.
Geriatric care managers are often social workers or nurses with extensive experience assessing an aging adult’s needs and coordinating the care a senior needs to maintain a high quality of life. They are experts in this area and are not emotionally involved in a family’s situation.
Utilize family counseling
This is a good route to take if siblings are willing to work together and heal relationships for their parent’s sake. Counselors can be social workers, psychologists, or other mental health professionals skilled at guiding conversations between family members, helping them work through challenges concerning elder care, and keeping things civil.
Use elder care mediation
If your family’s relationships are beyond repair and cooperation isn’t possible, an elder care mediator may be needed. They specialize in facilitating negotiations and resolving conflicts. This can help family members see things from a different point of view and reach a negotiated agreement. In addition, mediation can keep things from boiling over and prevents desperate and expensive measures such as lawsuits and guardianship petitions.
Call AmeriCare Plus for a free in-home consultation
If your parent lives in Virginia and you’d like to learn more about the various home care services available to keep them safe and secure at home, contact us today or fill out this online form and schedule a free in-home visit. We’ll give you a no-cost, no-obligation assessment of your parent’s needs based on our 26+ years of experience helping seniors age safely and comfortably in place.