Avoiding Family Feuds While Caring for a Senior
But there are a few steps you can take that may help to prevent a family feud.
Tips for Working with Siblings When a Parent Needs Care
- Schedule a Family Meeting: Begin by scheduling an in-person family meeting. If possible, include your parent. If a faraway sibling absolutely can’t arrange to be there, include them through a video chat service. Agree at the beginning of the meeting that you all share the same goal: to make sure your aging parent receives the support they need.
- Divide Tasks: Make a comprehensive list of the items your parent needs help with. Include one-time repairs and home maintenance, as well as on-going support. Keep in mind that not all siblings will agree with how much help a parent needs, especially those who don’t see them as often. It isn’t uncommon for adult children to be in denial about a senior’s decline. As you assign the responsibilities, try to be flexible and patient with one another. If one sibling lives too far away to help on a weekly basis, maybe they can pay for the cost of a home care aide a few hours a month or for a weekly housekeeping service.
- Create a Back-Up Plan: While you might be able to work together to help your parent for a while, there may come a time when the care they need becomes too much for all of you. Or the primary caregiver everyone counts on might have an emergency of their own. For that reason, it is important to create a caregiver back-up plan. It needs to include a list of potential in-home care providers and assisted living communities you have visited with and trust.
- Stay in Touch: One of the best ways to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications is to keep the lines of communication open between everyone involved in caregiving. Video chat services like Skype make this easier to do. There are also a variety of caregiver apps that might help.
- Share Communication Updates: If one sibling lives close and shoulders the majority of caregiving responsibilities, another family member should be designated to relay information to all. They can call the primary caregiver for updates and then share that information with the rest of the family.