Watching your mom or dad’s health slowly decline can be very painful for the entire family. However, each family member probably has their own way of dealing with the situation and different ideas on what is the right solution for your parent.
Reaching a consensus can be quite difficult and, at times, tension can rise and tempers can flare. However, with a little effort and strategic communication, you and your family can figure out a plan to handle your differences and focus on what matters most: ensuring your parents get the care and support they need. Here are some suggestions on how best to move forward:
Take a Step Back from the Situation
You’re more likely to make impulsive or emotionally-charged decisions in a tense situation. When possible, you and your siblings should try taking a moment to think things through. It can be an hour or a week but after time has passed, schedule a time to revisit the issue.
Care plans can be nuanced, multi-faceted approaches. Try to think about the problem not only from all angles, but from all perspectives. Try putting yourself in your family member’s shoes and approaching the problem through their lens. If you feel there are issues your family members aren’t aware of, bring them up during the next meeting.
Consistent Communication Is Key
There are times when one sibling or family member feels like they’re doing all the heavy lifting. This can lead to bitterness, but with good communication, you can find ways to work together and minimize caregiver burnout.
Remember, the main goal here is to not point fingers at who’s pitching in the least or what’s wrong with the current plan of action. Instead, the goal is to determine the best care plan for your aging loved one and split up the responsibilities more evenly based on your strengths. This way, you can ensure that the responsibility of caregiving does not fall on just one family member.
Make sure to include all your family members in the conversation, since leaving someone out can lead to dissatisfaction and bitterness.
Decide on Family Financial Roles in Advance
Money can often be the root cause of family disputes. To avoid this, make it a top priority to establish a budget for your loved one’s care.
Find out how much money your parents have saved and if they have any long-term care insurance policies. Whether it’s aging at home or moving to a senior living community, you need to consider the financial aspects of food, medicine, housing, healthcare services, support services and other costs associated with caring for an aging loved one. If it’s determined that money will be needed from family members, figure out a plan on how to split expenses based on each individual’s financial capabilities.
List Possible Solutions and Research Your Options
Identify gaps in your loved one’s care and list out every possible solution available before making a decision. Each family member can volunteer to research one solution, so you have all your options neatly laid out.
If your parents are of sound mind, include them in the discussion, after all this is about them and, ultimately it is their decision. You can even create a list with the various solutions and who’s taking responsibility for implementing parts of each plan.
Consider Family Counseling
An objective third party will be able to give you the insight you need. Family counseling is also an effective way to bridge the gap between siblings and allow you to discover a healthy way to resolve conflicts. Your loved one likely isn’t happy about needing care, they certainly won’t want that need to fracture their family.
Be open at family meetings and have honest discussions about your parent’s care needs and finances. Establish each family member’s role in the caretaking process. You can also get the help of representatives from the National Family Caregiver Support Program for support and other available options.
Caring for an aging loved one can be distressing for the whole family. If you and your family members are finding it difficult to decide on your parents’ care options, contact Oasis Senior Advisors at 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901, or fill out this online form and let us help!