Family Feuds and Caregiving: How to Manage the Disagreements

February 11, 2019

Family feuds often occur when a senior loved one’s health is declining. Use these tips to navigate difficult family dynamics.

When a senior loved one’s health begins to decline, it can create uncomfortable family dynamics. This is especially true when it comes to adult children. One child may want to take a proactive approach to planning for a parent’s future care, while another may be in denial about the situation. The struggle can bring unresolved family feuds to the surface again.

Many families find themselves bickering over finances and how to provide care for a parent. Adult children often disagree about who will manage specific tasks, and where a parent will live as they grow older. A sibling who lives closest to the parent might feel that their out-of-town siblings aren’t helping like they should.

Finding productive ways to manage these difficult conflicts and doing what is best for the aging parent is vital.

5 Ways Siblings Can Manage Disagreements over a Senior’s Care

  1. Put a parent’s wishes first: If your senior loved one is able to express their wishes, ask them what they want. Don’t make assumptions without seeking their input whenever possible.
  2. Be respectful but firm: If your bossy older brother isn’t pulling his weight when it comes to caring for your parent, it may be tempting to let your temper get the best of you. While you might feel better in the short term, it won’t help over the long run. Make a list of your parent’s needs and ask him which specific tasks he will help with and when. If he won’t pitch in or doesn’t follow through, ask him to hire an outside caregiver to give the siblings who are providing care a break.
  3. Keep communicating: Try to promote communication between siblings. Update one another about changes in your parent and their care needs. If one sibling is acting as the primary caregiver, another one should assume responsibility for keeping everyone informed. This might be via Skype or FaceTime or by using a caregiver app.
  4. Utilize respite care: Stress and sleep deprivation caused by caregiving can make family feuds peak. One way to prevent that is to take advantage of respite care programs at local senior living communities. Your parent can stay for a few days or a few weeks to give adult children and spouses time to restore their well-being.
  5. Seek unbiased mediation: It’s an unfortunate reality that some families might not be able to agree on how to provide for a senior loved one. For those families, an elder care mediator might be a good solution. These professionals are knowledgeable about local support options and can aid families in creating a plan for a senior’s future. You can search the National Care Planning Council’s website to find an elder care mediator near you.

Learn More about Senior Living

If you aren’t quite sure what type of care a senior loved one might need, we’d be happy to help. From assisted living to memory care, the teams at Legacy Senior Living communities will be happy to answer your questions. Call the community nearest you today!