Family planning can be difficult no matter the circumstance, whether it’s organizing a family vacation, hosting a holiday gathering or finding suitable care for your elderly parent. Clashes can arise quickly and escalate sibling conflicts that may have been put on hold for long periods of time. What can make sibling conflict over care for an elderly parent even harder are the unexpected situations. Your parents may have a sudden decline in their health, or their partner may have passed away, uprooting their living situation and forcing your family to come together with solutions in a short timeframe.
Helpful tips for settling family disputes over senior care
In order to get a grasp on your family’s situation and find a manageable care solution for your parents, seeking outside help can be very useful. Whether that means hiring a mediator, bringing in a family friend to act as a peacemaker, reading online sources or simply changing your mindset, there are ways to overcome conflict when trying to determine elderly caregiving opportunities with your siblings.
If you’re experiencing sibling conflict over the care of an elderly parent, consider these tips before settling on a care facility or care plan:
Prioritize your parent’s desires
It’s important to focus on what brought you and your siblings together in the first place: the well-being of your parent. Taking the time to listen to your parent’s perspective won’t just make communicating with your siblings easier, it will help your parent to find a living situation that makes them feel comfortable, safe and heard. Even if your parent has unrealistic expectations for their living arrangements, listen to their perspective and politely explain the options that are available to them while continuing to consider their input, trying your best to come to a compromise.
Sometimes things come up in family disputes over senior care because of resurfaced traumas of the past. Through environmental, conversational or situational triggers, siblings who may not have felt heard or understood in the past may have their emotions come out in the present. Try your best to listen. If your sibling says something that aggravates you, take the time to ask them intuitive questions about their point of view to try to understand them better.
Undergoing any kind of transition and being forced into decision-making can be stressful, but that does not excuse disrespectful behavior. Before getting into a conversation with your siblings about caregiving, set boundaries, and make statements about how you would like to be treated and how you would like to see other people treated. Here is a list of boundaries that are ideal for sibling conflicts over the care of an elderly parent:
- When someone is speaking or making a point, don’t interrupt them. Instead, let them finish their thought and then share your input.
- Give everyone the chance to speak and share their point of view.
- Offer your siblings privacy if the conversation gets heated or if they need some space to think.
- Avoid denying the feelings of your siblings. Instead, ask them why they feel the way they do and try your best to understand.
- Do not bring up triggers from the past or unresolved issues in a large family meeting. Instead, seek out individuals who you feel comfortable talking to and try to resolve issues on an individual level, without involving the entire group.
- If someone crosses the line, politely ask them to take a minute by themselves or to leave the room. Tolerating outbursts, anger and rage can reinforce negative tendencies and make communication unproductive.
If you live out of town, offer your help over long distances
Location is a big factor for siblings when deciding on caregiving for their parents. Younger or more distanced siblings may have a tendency to depend on their older and more local family to help. Avoid putting pressure on one person just because they live in close proximity, and instead, offer up your help from afar. Several ways to do this include joining in on a video call, making a drive into town or sending money to aid in expenses.
Consider involving a mediator or family friend
If things still aren’t going well for you and your siblings and you seem to continuously have family disputes over your parent’s senior care, it may be time to consider a third party or seek out a professional. Mediators can deescalate situations and navigate the conversation toward a more productive manner.
Deciding on a care facility
At Cherrywood Pointe, we make an effort to understand each of our resident’s unique circumstances and collaborate with their families to come up with a solution that works well for everyone involved. We offer a wide range of care that allows siblings to pick and choose the best caregiving option for their parents. Our overarching goal is to keep our residents active and energized, mentally and physically, so they can continue to live a fulfilling life with the care they need and you can have the comfort of knowing that all their needs are being met.