Navigating Conflict Over Parent’s Elder Care Options

Happy Family sitting on ouchSiblings often must work together to care for Aging Parents. Inevitably, conflict can arise over decisions about care, responsibilities, and finances. How do you navigate conflict with your siblings and make the best choices for your parents? Read on for strategies for caregiving together with clear communication and commitment.

Make Early Preparations 
One of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children is to prepare for aging. When parents are clear about their desires and values for their later years, siblings can work together to achieve these goals.

Be sure to have conversations with your parent before health needs arise. What do they want? What resources do they have for aging? How do they want their adult children involved?

Hold a Family Meeting for your parent to express their desires in one place, where everyone can listen and get on the same page. Side conversations and hear-say create confusion and fuel conflict. Getting everyone around a table sharing and listening is invaluable for future decision-making.

Continue to communicate as siblings when your parent’s needs change. Is one sibling in town with the parent, while others live at a distance? Chances are the bulk of caregiving falls on the in-town sibling. Be sure to check in regularly with your sibling, not just your parent, about responsibilities, needs, and changes in health progress. Find out ways each sibling can play a role in caregiving.

If the conflict between siblings feels difficult to overcome, enlist outside help. Family counseling provides an outside, professional perspective to help family members articulate their views, listen to each other, and reach resolution.

Elder Care Mediation is also available to help families get beyond conflict and learn to work together for a common goal. These mediators are trained in the specific dynamics of caring for Seniors and how to reach agreements and make successful plans for moving forward. Mediators facilitate negotiations that could otherwise escalate and end up in the courts. You can find a mediator through Mediate.com or at the Association for Conflict Resolution.

Choose a Senior Living Option
As you discuss plans for aging with your parent, consider Home Care or the move to Independent Living or Assisted Living, and explore options together as a family. The Wesley Community offers scheduled, private tours with Senior Care Specialists. The caring staff will take the time to listen to your questions. They will learn what you and your parent’s desire for Senior Living and they will work with you to find an option that’s a perfect fit for your family.

Often adult children assume they can share caregiving responsibilities of their parents. Their desire to do so reflects a deep love and commitment, but can also produce conflict. As parent’s needs increase, and adult children’s life responsibilities don’t decrease, the stress of family caregiving can outweigh the benefits. Conflict between siblings who have grown apart, or have differing personalities, contributes to poor decision making and increased stress on aging parents.

Choosing a Senior Living Community for your parent is not a surrendering of responsibility or care. In fact, if your parent joins The Wesley Community they will experience the highest level of care, safety, and lifestyle without the stress of family negotiations and conflict.

The Wesley Community offers a continuum of care, including home care, independent living, and assisted living. If your parent decides to age-in-place, Wesley provides home health care and assistance. Should your parent want to make a move and experience the freedom of a safe, maintenance free apartment, Embury Apartments and Woodlawn Commons provide income-based units for independent living. If your parent’s needs change, assisted living is also available at Woodlawn Commons.

Commit Together
Commit together to the Senior Living best for your parent. Avoid conflict by giving everyone a voice in the decision. Recognize that by choosing Senior Living you are alleviating the possibility of many small future disagreements between siblings. With the daily stresses of health, safety, home maintenance, and activity provided, siblings can each thrive in their best role, in a relationship with their parent.