When aging parents need help, the last thing anyone wants is a family feud about how to manage the situation, but conflicts may arise from several directions. When there are several adult children, there may be tensions over who becomes the primary decision-maker for arranging care. Usually, if one adult child is local, that person embraces this role and may even become the primary caregiver. Other siblings or extended family might disagree on the type of care or the amount of assistance your aging parent needs. Chris and I experienced this difficulty with both of our families when our mothers began to need care. Conflict may also arise if there is a cost involved in arranging care, and sometimes families disagree on how the money is spent or even who should foot the bill. If sibling rivalry has been an ongoing issue within the family, this can create additional strain within the family dynamics as well. Sadly, when family members feud about caring for an aging parent or loved one, the one being cared for is frequently the one who is hurt the most by the battle.
Family feuds are never fun when they impact a Family Caregiver. If you feel caught in the middle, your best recourse is to involve an impartial 3rd party expert who can listen objectively to the issues the family is dealing with and help broker a solution that is acceptable to everyone. Such disagreements might involve the senior’s actual condition and needs, estate planning, financial management, interpersonal roles and rivalries, and the burden of care. Your 3rd party expert might be a minister, a doctor, a geriatric care manager, or even someone from a home care or hospice agency.
With the guidance offered and information shared, the family should discuss potential future situations and begin to make a plan. Sharing the care and decisions about that care may help create harmony in family interactions during this difficult time.
The most important thing is to try and keep your ego out of the mix. As the primary Family Caregiver, you have to always keep your loved one’s best interests at the forefront. If you can encourage your siblings and other family members to do this as well, you have a much better chance of coming up with a plan that everyone will support, and your family gatherings will be much more pleasant and productive. Go here for more ways to avoid the feud.
Chris and I hope you will join the conversation below and share your heart about finding yourself in a family feud.