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How Siblings Care for Elderly Parents When No One Can Agree

| September 30, 2020
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For most families, navigating elder care decisions falls somewhere between adult siblings happily gathering together and planning for their parent’s future and siblings who barely speak making rash decisions in an effort to end a difficult conversation quickly. 

Caregiving has a way of sneaking into people’s lives. Typically, the adult child living nearest the aging parent(s) becomes the default caregiver when a few quick tasks and errands get out of hand. Your folks need some guidance on their Medicare coverage, so you stop over. Their yard is in desperate need of attention, so you start taking time away from your family to pitch in each week. Then it’s grocery shopping and rides to doctor’s appointments and then, well, you’re on your way to taking on a second job.

A family meeting can provide the opportunity to clarify your parents’ needs and hash out those needs entail. It also gives all siblings a chance to learn about the situation, participate in care decisions, and brainstorm how they can pitch in. Sometimes, the ideal meeting doesn’t come to fruition especially if you have siblings that aren’t agreeable or trusting. In this situation enlisting an outside third party is generally the best course of action.

Geriatric Care Manager: These professionals are often social workers or nurses who specialize in assessing a senior’s needs and coordinating the care and resources necessary to help them maintain a high quality of life. Bonus: they can do it without being emotionally tied to the situation.

Counseling: As an objective third party, a family counselor can guide the conversation, keep it civil and help families work through the challenges associated with caring for an elderly parent. With some committed effort, families might just find healing through the use of counseling sessions.

Elder Care Mediation: These people specialize in resolving conflict and facilitating negotiations between disputing parties. A mediator does not tell the parties what to do or decide the solutions for them. Rather, a mediator helps people to see things from a different point of view and reach their own negotiated agreements.  

Caring for you parents as they age is hard enough and adding family conflict can make everyone miserable. Your parents worked hard to build a loving family, so find ways to work together that will allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Call us and together we can help find ways for everyone in your family to be together happily for the benefit of mom and dad.

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[1] https://www.agingcare.com/articles/sibling-disputes-about-elderly-parents-care-134376.htm

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