How to Talk with Siblings About Senior Care for a Parent
Before you begin to speak with your aging parent about senior care, you might need to broach the subject with your siblings. Especially those who live far away.
But how do you go about doing so?
Plan a MeetingDon’t blindside your siblings by bringing up the topic without warning. Schedule a meeting. This permits siblings from out of state to travel so you can meet in person. It will also give you time to prepare.
Prepare Your EvidenceIf you’re the primary caregiver, you are the person who knows your parent’s struggle the best. Document all the objective evidence you have that your parent needs help.
Also be prepared to discuss what you have been doing, and why you can’t continue with this level of care. Do you have children who need your time and attention? Is your work and income suffering?
Enter the discussion with your primary objective in mind. Do you want your siblings to help out more? Or is it time for your parent to move to an assisted living community?
Listen to Your Sibling’s Ideas and SuggestionsIf your siblings offer to pitch in to alleviate some of the burden, you might want to create a plan of action and agree to try it for a month or two. Keep the possibility of an assisted living community in the back of your mind to re-visit later.
Try to Avoid Falling into Your Old RolesWhen adult siblings gather, it’s almost impossible to avoid falling into your childhood roles. The older sibling may try to take charge even if it’s the middle child who spends the most time with their mom or dad.
Let go of competition with siblings and old grudges in order to make the best joint decision for your aging parents. This means putting egos aside and realizing that, even though you share the same parents, your views on life may be very different from your siblings’.
Everyone involved deserves to have their say, although the ultimate decision may fall on your parent or the primary caregiver.
Consider an Elder Care MediatorStill can’t reach an agreement? An elder care mediator is a conflict-resolution specialist. Sometimes the mediator is an elder care attorney or therapist. They may be able to step in to keep conflicts from getting heated.
The mediator can also help ensure everyone has a chance to speak.
Most importantly, the mediator will make sure everyone remains focused on the goal: To provide your aging parents with the best care and the best lifestyle possible in their senior years.
A mediator won’t tell you what to do, but they will help you and your siblings to reach an agreement.