There are a variety of reasons that siblings might not agree on how to care for their senior parent. Here are a few tips on how to avoid or solve conflict between siblings. If you have siblings and a senior parent who is now in need of some extra attention, these tips might be helpful while you try to figure out what to do about care for your parents.
Communicate. This is very important. It is much better to talk openly about concerns and disagreements than to try to make a decision on your own. Communicate about your plans, and take the time to listen to each other’s suggestions. Every sibling has a right to an opinion. Don’t forget you’re not the only one that cares about your parent or parents.
Treat each other equally. Divide the work and responsibilities as equally and fairly as possible. Make sure you talk about whether or not you feel comfortable with the amount of responsibility that is being placed on your or others. It can go both ways. If a sibling helps out too much, he or she might feel overwhelmed. The opposite, however, can be true as well. A sibling might also feel left out if others seem to be contributing more or controlling the amount of contribution possible.
Have the hard conversations with a third party present. If you can have a mediator present or maybe get a senior living advisor to help out with the decision-making process, this might make the conversations a little bit easier. Going to counseling can also be a huge benefit. If siblings already have a strained relationship, it might be difficult to work together to find a way to care for a parent. However, it won’t help to go to counseling if one or more of the siblings doesn’t want to be there.
Don’t forget to include your parents. Take their thoughts and opinions into consideration. Make sure that your parents are comfortable with whatever form of care they end up receiving. If they want to move into an assisted living community, help them out with that. If there is another option they prefer, that’s the way to go. Listening to your parents’ opinion might help eliminate some of the conflict between siblings.