When the time comes for Mom or Dad to need extra care, siblings usually have varying opinions about what that care might be. One sibling may think that Mom belongs in assisted living, while another feels that a caregiver coming to the home is best.
When siblings put aside their differences and work together for the best interests of their loved one, a fair resolution can generally be made. But how do you get to this point?
Understand the Reasons for Fighting
First, it’s important to understand the reasons why your family is having different feelings toward the next step. Some of the most common reasons why siblings fight over their parent’s care are:
- Siblings view their parent’s needs differently
- One child is afraid of becoming the main caregiver
- One child is in control and excludes the others
- Siblings are concerned about the cost of senior care
- Siblings are worried about their parent’s estate and inheritances
Some challenges are easier to manage than others. No matter what you’re dealing with, however, it all starts with proper communication.
Start with a Family Meeting
Arrange a meeting with your siblings and have an open, honest discussion about your parent’s needs, what type of care you are each comfortable with and what you are willing to pay for that care. Now is a good time to discuss your roles and how you will contribute.
Enlist Help from a Professional
To avoid unnecessary tension, it’s helpful to enlist help from a family mediator, senior living advisor or lawyer, depending on your needs. This person will keep the conversation civil and focused on your loved one’s needs. A professional can also present you with your options and how much money is available to pay for care.
Ask for Help if You’re the Primary Caregiver
Speak up if you feel that you are the child that has or will be doing the brunt of the care. It’s OK to ask for help from your siblings, and if they can’t be there for you, you may need to hire a caregiver for additional hours or have respite care available to you.
Be fair to your siblings, as well. If they live out of town, they can’t be as hands-on, but they can help with other things such as paying bills or working with the insurance companies.
Honesty and open communication is the best policy when dealing with issues of this sort. Siblings have strong opinions, and they don’t always match up. Try to leave personal issues out of these discussions and focus on your loved one’s needs. And of course, if you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a family mediator or senior living advisor.