Remember the gameshow, Family Feud? Betsy and I both loved watching it when we were younger; even today I occasionally find a clip online and laugh at the family dynamics involved in trying to think of all the right answers to the questions asked. Some families handled the tension well, laughing at answers that ranged from silly to outrageously wrong. Other families, however, were quite the opposite when someone gave an incorrect response. They lashed out with anger, irritation, and even embarrassment as they lost one round after another.
Family dynamics are surprisingly vulnerable when an aging family member needs care. Tensions may flare, sometimes over unresolved conflicts in the past, and unforeseen friction might interfere with finding the best solution for your loved ones. Of course, everyone is trying to find the right answers to the questions you are all facing in finding the right kind of care, and the right amount of that care.
The first question to arise usually relates to whether your loved one can remain in their own home or if they need to move to a facility. Depending on your family’s unique circumstances, either of these answers may be the right one. Nearly every older person wants to be able to age in place, but most will need some amount of assistance as their age advances. If the assistance needed requires a significant amount of skilled care now or in the near future, or if cognitive decline is advanced, care in a facility might be the best option. If, however, your mom or dad enjoys their independence and can still safely live at home with some level of support, home care is a better plan that lets them remain comfortably and safely. Either way, this is NEVER the time to begin arguing about who will care for Mom or Dad.
If home care is the best plan for your particular circumstance, that option should receive careful consideration, and should not be made in a split-second decision. As always, planning is the key to a successful outcome that gives everyone a win. Home Instead, through its website for family caregiver support, http://www.CaregiverStress.com, gives 6 Strategies to reduce the drama and avoid a family feud. Begin today to have these conversations with other members of your family before care is needed. Develop a plan before one is needed and when you do, you will be ready.
Betsy and I hope you will join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about avoiding family feuds.