Siblings often disagree when faced with decisions about an elderly parent’s care. Here are some of the most common issues siblings argue about and advice to resolve them.
· Siblings disagree about how much care is needed
· Adult siblings don’t always see care giving needs the same way. One child may have the impression that a parent is doing fine at home, while another feels that they need extra help. This is especially common if family members are spread out geographically or spend different amounts of time with aging loved ones.
Get an expert assessment
· An outside opinion can often help resolve this issue. Arrange for a geriatric care manager to visit your loved one’s home for a safety assessment. Also consult your parent’s primary doctor about recent deterioration and developing physical challenges.
· Clarification from health care professionals can define next steps and prevent sibling arguments about how much care is necessary.
Research senior care options
· Once care needs are established, the next step is deciding who will provide care.
· If you think a senior living community may be a good solution check them out in person. Show up around lunch time and stay for lunch. Taste the food. See how residents interact. Is there assigned seating? How are the dynamics?
· Ask your loved one how they felt about that experience afterwards.
· If your loved one will remain at home, sibling help can range from financial assistance to daily visits. If you or another sibling are considering full-time care giving, check out local caregivers. Call them, check out their websites. Compassionate Concierge is one resource.
Talk about the care of your parents with all your siblings
· Often the child who lives closest to their aging parent, or has the closest emotional relationship, will assume the main caregiver role
· When other family members don’t readily offer to help, the primary caregiver can feel isolated, alone, and resentful
· Avoid caregiver burnout by involving all the siblings and include a trusted caregiver.
· Make sure you share responsibilities and include a trusted caregiver
· You can care for a loved one from a distance, if you have a trusted caregiver that reports back to the family. Many caregivers like Compassionate Concierge offer transportation to doctors appts, grocery shopping and errands
· Try to understand everyone’s point of view. Stay on the same page with open channels of communication.
· If everyone does not agree; this could create disharmony within the family. Consider what is best for your parents. If needed consult a mediator such as a geriatric care manager, social worker, the local department on aging, or a trusted caregiver
· At a family meeting, there should be frank and open discussion about a parent’s care needs. Each sibling’s role and obligations should be established, and future plans should be made. Discuss finances, care giving, and any wishes your parents already have in place
What if your parents resist care?
· Listen to their concerns
· Talk to them about the benefits of senior care givers
· Relate to them, you want to be their advocate
· Give them options between in home caregiver like Compassionate Concierge or assisted living communities. Make sure to try and follow their wishes. Remember most seniors want to stay in their own home as long as possible
What if your parents have a diagnosis of dementia?
· Consult with professionals about their condition
· Weigh your options of keeping them at home, hiring a caregiver, and waiting until it is a safety risk before putting them in a community
· Remember this diagnosis is not your fault. You can only accept and do the best you can
· Make sure you understand the risks of having a loved one with dementia
· Avoid caregiver burnout by hiring in Compassionate Concierge to help with daily chores and respite care. Remember you need a break too!
· Caregiver burnout is especially common in this situation, which can cause your own health and relationships to suffer. If you’re a full-time caregiver who’s decided to keep a loved one at home, consider adult daycare, occasional respite stays, or weekly home care.
Siblings argue about paying for an aging parent’s care
· Research the cost of senior care. Look at in home caregivers, adult day programs, senior centers, assisted living, and respite care options
· Talk to geriatric care managers, and senior living advisors to find cost effective ways.
· Look at in home care vs relocating them. Statistics prove that 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes. What do you want for your next life? Do not dismiss your loved ones wants because you feel you don’t have time. Remember they raised you and changed your diapers!
· Talk to a financial advisor how to pay for in home care, senior living
· Establish financial roles in advance
What about conflicts between end-of-life care and inheritance?
End-of-life care is controversial. One child may want to arrange hospice care for a terminally ill parent, while another may advocate that every day lived is a victory. In both cases, family members want what is best for their aging parent, but they disagree about what that means.
· Let your parents make the decisions
· Talk to a financial advisor
· Establish financial roles
· Establish advanced healthcare directives such as who will be power of attorney for medical, financial, living and dying will, inheritance, who will carry out the wishes