Conflicts between adult siblings are common when it comes to choosing how best to care for an aging parent. Many adult children of aging loved ones discover that they do not always see eye to eye with their siblings. Sometimes these problems become so great that it may seem impossible to find common ground. However, it is important to remember that the family relationships are the most treasured relationships and there are always ways to work around these issues. Here is some advice how to handle these conflicts as they arise.
Remember the family connection you share
The most important piece to remember is that you are a family. You all love and care for your adult parent or you would not be having these discussions in the first place. I heard it quoted to, "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." Above all else, remember the love you have for your siblings and your parents is the most important thing to preserve.
Keep an open dialogue with your family
Another vital part of handling conflicts that arise is keeping an open dialogue with each of your siblings. Remember that each person is going to have an opinion about how to care for your parents. With an open dialogue and a spirit of seeking to understand each other, your family can work towards creating a plan with a common goal for your parent.
Seek to understand the side of your sibling
It is also important to try and understand the side of your siblings. They may be bringing up things that are important to them, such as:
- How money is to be spent.
- What a parent may have told them in the past about what they wanted as they got older
- Where the parent should live - with family or assisted living
- Decisions on how to handle memory care or even medical treatment.
- What roles will each sibling take
These are all valid issues and it is important to understand that every issue involving your parent and your siblings is important.
Seek outside help to solve the problem
Let's be honest, as adults we don't often like to seek help from others, especially outside our families. However, when conflicts arise the help of an outside source can be helpful. They do not have the history or the family dynamic that often lead to the conflict. Their perspective and input can be valuable to the entire family.
However, it is important that this outside help is more than just a family friend or acquaintance. This person should be a professional that knows how to care for an aging adult. The medical world refers to these professionals as Geriatric Care Managers.
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
For many families they are not aware of what a Geriatric Care Manager is or does. Simply put, a geriatric care manager is a care professional that will help develop a care plan that is best for the patient and the family. They can also bring the family together and be united in working towards a common goal.
Aging Solutions Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who are objective in assessing options, mediating family issues involving what to do, and provide guidance in planning and monitoring the care of aging parents.
In family conflict issues, Aging Solutions Geriatric Care Managers work to keep the family focused on the desired outcome and goal for the care of the aging parent. In addition, they provide direction, support, and resolution.
Aging Solutions Geriatric Care Managers will help with keeping the family on track during the family meeting(s) where everyone is heard and can move towards an agreed upon plan. This plan can be followed by the family or by hiring Aging Solutions to oversee the plan and care for the parent.
Remember that no problem is worth throwing away the relationships you have with your family. Having a care manager come in to assess the needs of your parent can preserve those relationships. I know that is what your parents would want anyway.
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