Jan 12th, 2014
Dealing With Difficult Siblings when Choosing Care Options for Parents
Caring for an ageing parent causes more problems between siblings than many people are willing to admit.
Siblings will often differ on the kind of care that is needed and where it should be given. Typically, one or some of them will want their mother in a nursing facility of some sort while the others feel that that is the wrong way to treat a parent.
Some may feel that they can utilize senior care facilities while others may feel that all care should be provided by family members. The result of these differences is constant arguments that cause rifts in families.
In many cases, siblings want to give care themselves because of the guilt they feel of having strangers taking care of a parent in a strange place and they are right; seniors in nursing facilities are often lonely and they miss their homes and families but home care is not always an option especially if family members are working or are in school. Even for stay at home moms who have children, the burden of senior home care can be quite a big one.
Is there a way to avoid these difficulties?
Yes, there is. First of all, if you can have a discussion early on when the parent is able to contribute sensibly about how their care should be handled it will help a lot. The siblings will have a fairly good idea of what the parent wants and this is what will guide them when making care decisions.
The second thing you can do to avoid fights about senior care is not to criticize.
If a parent is living with a sibling and they are providing care, that’s how they know to provide care and other siblings should not criticize. Instead, they should support and help in areas where they feel they can. If the sibling who is taking care cannot cook good meals, for instance, the other siblings can take care of that so that there is always a healthy, frozen meal around.
Siblings should also, as much as possible, share the burden of care. So long as they are geographically close, they can take days of the week to give care and they should help out in the evenings. If the issue is small children, take them along – elderly people love children and the positive feelings may help them get healthier.
Siblings fighting over ageing parents doesn’t have to happen; just as other relationships can be fixed, these disagreements can be worked out positively.