Working together to make decisions about a parent’s care can strain even the closest of families. Watching your loved one’s health decline is tough. Complicating matters is that caregiving responsibilities are typically not split equally among siblings. That alone can cause conflict.
A study by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving revealed that only 1 in 10 family caregivers say responsibilities are shared equally and without conflict among loved ones. In most families, one person shoulders much of the burden. It’s often the eldest daughter or the daughter who lives closest to a parent.
3 Common Causes of Friction about Senior Care
- Different opinions: Adult children don’t always see eye-to-eye on how much or what type of care a parent needs. These disagreements are often caused by an adult child who lives farther away or is in denial about a parent’s decline.
- Disagreements about money: Another source of family feuds over senior care is money. Adult children may disagree on how to spend—or not spend—a parent’s money. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for siblings to clash over potential inheritance.
- Caregiving responsibilities: Sibling disagreements may also erupt over the division of caregiving duties. One adult child may resent having to do most of the heavy lifting. Those who aren’t helping much might be overly critical due to underlying guilt.
Work Together to Support an Aging Parent
Caring for an aging parent requires a coordinated approach. Whether you’re making decisions about senior care or creating a monthly budget, it’s important to put aside your differences. A few steps you can take that may make it easier to work together include:
- Communicating regularly: Routine communication among adult children and loved ones is vital for avoiding misunderstandings. Make a habit of meeting regularly, even if it’s only by video chat, to discuss changes in a parent or new issues that require action.
- Letting it go: Don’t let resentment and old sibling rivalries keep you from doing what is in your parent’s best interest. Instead of hanging on to old wounds and slights, let it go. The added stress isn’t good for you or your parent.
- Seeking unbiased help: Unfortunately, some families may be unable to resolve their differences. The support of an unbiased third party may be necessary. Start with your parent’s rabbi or pastor if they are comfortable taking on that role. One group of professionals you can turn to for assistance with senior care issues are aging life care professionals. They can help with everything from selecting an assisted living community to supervising in-home care providers.
If you have questions about senior care of any kind, call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you. One of our experienced team members will be happy to assist!