Managing Family Conflict Over Parent Care

5 Tips for Preventing Conflict Over Parent Care

When parents begin to require some assistance in daily routines, adult children are often called into help.  Typically, the one who lives closest to the parent ends up with the care.  Many caregivers end up taxed emotionally, physically and financially by the experience.  Often, other siblings will not get involved unless there is a crisis where more attention is called to the situation.  Everyone will have a different opinion or concern about how care is being provided.  Emotions that were not resolved in early childhood may now resurface when siblings are called in to help.DepressedSeniorMan

5 Tips for preventing sibling conflict over parent care:

  • Put everyone’s concerns on the table and name a point person to manage care.
  • Involve a mediator if a sibling is particularly difficult
  • Develop a doctor visit schedule in which a sibling is in attendance
  • Report back to all siblings after each medical visit via text or email so everyone is in the loop on where care is proceeding.
  • Don’t wait until things are out of control before getting a mediator involved.

Alternatives in Care

There are several alternatives to consider before deciding that Mom or Dad need to move to senior housing which may not be their first choice.

First, figure out what your loved one is able to handle and what they can no longer do by themselves.  Can these be hired out?  What can caregivers offer while still maintaining their own jobs and family relationships?

Second , can hired caregivers provide for the needs of your loved ones in their home?  Do they need all day or partial day care?  Many times paid caregivers will cook meals ahead and help with light housekeeping and laundry.

Third, could your loved one attend several days of adult day centers per week to give the remaining spouse needed time off?

Fourth, is it possible for the loved one to move in with an adult child or vice versa so they have someone overseeing care?  If this is not possible, could they get a roommate who they know to move in and keep an eye on them?  Research shows that older adults do not want to live with their children. They don’t want to be a burden.

Fifth , is there an independent or assisted living center in which they could live in a supportive, protective community? It would provide meals and social interaction which often helps older adults thrive when otherwise they would have been isolated at home.

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