Managing Sibling Conflict Over Caregiving Duties | Five Star Senior Living

Sibling Conflict Over Caregiving Duties

  • March 03, 2016

Adult children often have differing ideas about what type of care an aging parent might need and who should help provide it. All too often it leads to heated conversations between siblings. One person may want to take a proactive approach to planning while another may deny there is anything wrong with an older loved one. The struggle often brings childhood rivalries to the surface again.

One area families of an older adult often feud about is who will help with what tasks and where a parent will live in later life. The burden of caregiving typically falls on the oldest daughter or the daughter who lives nearest to parents. They often feel as if their out-of-town siblings aren’t doing anything to help.

Finding ways to manage conflict and create a plan that keeps an aging parent safe can be a challenge.

5 Ways to Avoid Family Feuds over Elder Care

These suggestions may help your family avoid a feud that causes a permanent break in your relationship:

  1. Listen to your parent. If your loved one is able to provide input, ask them to share their wishes for future care with all of you. Don’t make assumptions about what he or she would want. Include them in the process.
  2. Divide up tasks. Create a list of tasks and errands your aging family member needs help with now and on a regular basis moving forward. If one sibling can’t or won’t pitch in, ask if they are willing to contribute financially so outside help, such as a cleaning service or in-home caregiver, can be hired.
  3. Stay in touch. Try to stay in touch with one another to share updates and changes. However, don’t put that responsibility on the already overwhelmed primary caregiver. Instead, designate one sibling or family member to call the adult child handling most of the responsibilities. Have that sibling share updates with everyone else. An app like Care Zone or a private group on Facebook can make that easier to do.
  4. Be respectful. Tensions can run high when a parent’s health is declining. Try to remember to be patient and respectful of one another and of your senior family member. Take a deep breath and count to ten before you say or do something you will regret later.
  5. Seek professional help. For some families, working together just isn’t possible. In these cases, an elder care attorney or an elder care mediator might be necessary. These professionals help families by providing unbiased guidance about each potential senior care solution.

We hope this information helps your family work together to do what is best for an older loved one. If you have questions about senior care or how to tell what type of services an aging loved one needs, we invite you to call the Five Star Senior Living Community nearest you. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help!


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