How to Overcome Sibling Disagreements about Elder Care

Wellness Pogram in Senior independent living

Often, especially when dementia is involved, it falls upon the adult children to make decisions about senior living choices for aging parents. Making the right choice is important, and all options should be considered before making a move. However, these choices become particularly difficult when adult siblings disagree on the right decisions for their parents. Today, we’ll discuss some strategies for reducing those disagreements to make the best decisions for aging parents.

Focus on goals. Once you’ve identified that your parents need help making decisions, have all the siblings sit down together (or meet over the phone or through technology like Skype) and determine goals for your parent’s care. This will likely be things like ensuring their health and safety, maintaining their independence as much as possible, maintaining their dignity, protecting their financial interests, and managing their emotional responses. Set several goals that fit your parents’ personalities and write them down, using them as a guide as you make group decisions.

Work as a team. Different people have different strengths. Leveraging the strengths of each sibling helps balance the decision-making work and gives your parents the best possible support system. For example, one sibling may be better at calming them emotionally, and another may have financial know-how and experience to deal with the assets. One may be better with handling paperwork, and another might be better at gathering friends to do the heavy lifting for a tomove. Whatever the strength, work with each other to decide who will be responsible for individual tasks, based on their strengths.

Organize paperwork and finances. Ensure that your parents’ wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, funeral arrangements, and other legal needs are in place. It’s important to clearly understand your parents’ financial situation to determine what they can afford for senior care and whether they need financial assistance. If one or both of your parents have dementia, it’s helpful to have this in order beforehand. However, if that’s not the case, you may need to consult with your parents’ accountant or attorney to fully understand their situation.

Get help. Making decisions for aging parents can be an emotional situation. After a lifetime of your parents making decisions for you, it can be hard to turn the tables. Fear, anger, and frustration are some of the primary reasons why siblings fight over elder care decisions, so if you’ve hit a roadblock, it’s time to bring in a professional to help. This might be a counselor, a mediator, a geriatric care manager, or a specific professional who can help with one aspect, like a certified senior move manager to help with the housing transition. If one family member will be a caregiver over the short-term, consider a financial advisor to find ways to be reimbursed for elder care or a support group for caregivers to help combat stress. Each family’s situation will be different, so even if you can’t agree on something, work together as your parents’ support system to decide which professional can help your family.

Communication is the key to making the best decisions for your parents’ elder care. Work as a team, set aside differences, and recognize the strengths of each sibling. Remember that your parents depend on you as their valuable support system. When it’s time to consider assisted senior living for your parents, contact us at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Our dedicated professionals can answer all your questions to help you make important decisions for your parents. Our facilities are designed to make the transition easy, with amenities, activities, and a sense of community that makes seniors feel right at home. Find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.