Having siblings or a large family can be a blessing when it comes to caring for aging or ill parents. With others to help shoulder and divide responsibilities, the burdens of care can be eased. But not every family is picture-perfect, and even the ones that seem to be are prone to internal conflict or disputes over parental care. The best way to avoid or resolve familial and sibling disputes over parental care is to familiarize yourself with common areas of disagreement and have open an honest conversations.
Common Sources of Conflict
One of the most common sources of conflict among families and siblings in caring for aging parents is how to best provide the care that they need. Debates about the various options (full-time home care, placement in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or just some part-time care) can cause a rift between siblings, especially if financial responsibility falls on one or all of those involved in the discussion. One sibling may want to assume the role of caregiver while others are not willing or able to help at all.
Finances, estates, and wills are another common source of conflict that can potentially tear a family apart, even after a parent has passed. Healthcare and end-of-life decisions are also causes of conflict that are only compounded by the emotional toll of losing a parent.
How to Handle Conflicts
Even as adults, old sibling rivalries and arguments from the past are bound to resurface in stressful times. It’s important to approach family meetings and planning sessions with a cool head and remember that your job is to make sure your parents are well cared for and comfortable. Leave egos at the door and plan for an interruption-free meeting of family members who will be involved in your parents’ care. Have a checklist of important discussion points at hand. Be sure to cover all areas of care, from assigning a healthcare proxy and power of attorney, to examining options for care and devising a comprehensive plan. . Ultimately however, it is your parents’ decision and it is up to them to invoke these legal rights. league of legends site down . Talking to your parents early about end-of-life issues and having a clear understanding of their desires can help prevent many disagreements and reduce the stress of planning for their future.
If you and your siblings are finding it impossible to agree on a care plan or need help navigating options if your parent is too ill to convey his or her wishes, there are resources available. For assistance in determining the type of care your parent requires, you can enlist a geriatric care manager who will assess your parent’s needs based on his or her abilities, progression of their illness, and living environment. Having a professional opinion from outside the family making recommendations can take much of the stress out of a challenging conversation.
If you and your siblings or family members are arguing to the point of impending litigation, there are elder care mediators that can help defuse disagreements. Elder care mediation can be an impartial safe space to discuss matters ranging from division of labor, advanced directives, and living wills to financial and estate planning.
Arguments and discord amongst siblings only serve to add more stress to an already stressful situation. Remember that, ultimately, the purpose of these conversation is to ensure your parents well-being and happiness.