When an aging parent’s health begins to decline, it can be emotionally difficult for their adult children. The stress and tension it creates can increase the likelihood for conflict between adult children who often have differing ideas about what type of care an aging parent s needs.
One person may want to take a proactive approach and begin searching for senior living communities, while another child might be in denial that their parent is struggling. The situation often brings long forgotten childhood squabbles to the surface again.
Finding ways to manage these conflicts and create a plan for care that keeps an aging parent safe becomes even more challenging.
5 Ways Prevent Family Feuds over an Aging Parent’s Care
Here are a few tips you can use to avoid a family feud:
- Put Your Parent First: If your loved one is able, ask them to share their wishes for future care with all of you. Don’t make assumptions about what he or she would want. Whenever possible, include your parent in the decision-making process.
- Divide Up Responsibilities: Create a comprehensive list of tasks and activities your older loved one needs help with. Assign each task to a family member. If one sibling lives far away and can’t pitch in, ask if they are willing to contribute financially to the plan. They might be willing to hire a cleaning service to come a few times a month or for a few hours of care from in-home caregiver.
- Communicate Frequently: As with all things in life, good communication is important. Make an extra effort to stay in touch with one another and to share updates and changes in a parent’s condition. Don’t put the burden of communication on the primary caregiver though. He or she is probably already overwhelmed. Instead, designate one sibling to call the sibling who is handling most of the responsibilities to obtain updates. Then have them communicate those updates to the rest of the family. It can even be done using an app like Care Zone or a private group on Facebook.
- Exercise Patience and Respect: Aging services providers see every day how family squabbles can lead to permanent rifts among loved ones. It can be tough not to let your emotions get the best of you when you are worried about a loved one. Remind yourself to be patient and respectful of one another. The old practice of taking a deep breath and counting to ten before you say or do something you will regret later is one to remember and adopt.
- Hire a Mediator: Sometimes families just can’t work together. If you feel like your family has reached an impasse, consider hiring an elder care attorney or an elder care mediator. These trained professionals provide unbiased guidance about senior care solutions and can make recommendations for moving forward.
If you have questions about senior living in Michigan or how to tell what type of care your parent might need, please call the Heritage Senior community nearest to you. We will be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction for help!