How to Avoid Family Conflicts About Care for Mom or Dad
Supporting aging parents can come with a variety of challenges, and conflict between siblings and other family members over the level of care your mom or dad should receive is a big one. If you’re struggling with how to provide the best quality of life for your parents, you’re not alone.
Around 77% of adult children report their parents are stubborn about getting help with daily tasks, and adding a sibling who’s equally stubborn to the mix can be a recipe for frustration. Having open communication is key to getting mom or dad the care they need as they age.
Find three tips on how to avoid family conflict over senior care for aging parents, and learn how you can work together with your siblings to provide an exceptional retirement for your mom or dad.
1. Avoid Family Conflict
If your family can reasonably provide quality, at-home senior care that offers assistance with daily activities, while also being able to afford house modifications like grab bars, lifts or walk-in showers, your loved one may be able to age gracefully in their current home. However, providing the right environment for aging adults is easier said than done.
The best way to know if your family can afford at-home care is by creating a realistic list of what your parents need for a high-quality life and finding out if you have the budget to cover it.
Here are things to consider when making your list:
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Utilities like electric, gas, water, phone and cable
- Landscaping and home repairs
- Home modifications
- roceries and meals out
- Cost of healthcare
- Cost of personal care with activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, dressing and grooming
- Cost of future higher levels of care
- Respite care for family caregivers
If these responsibilities are difficult to meet or there’s a chance Mom or Dad won’t be getting the care they need in a safe and supportive environment, it’s time to consider moving your parents to a senior living community. There, most costs are rolled into one simple monthly fee, and the environment is specifically designed for seniors of all ages and abilities to thrive.
2. What to Do When a Family Member Has Caregiver Burnout
It’s typical for the adult child who lives closest to Mom or Dad or has the closest emotional connection to take on the role as primary caregiver. When other family members aren’t nearby to offer help or some aren’t willing to lend a hand, it can make the primary caregiver feel isolated, alone or resentful … and can lead to debilitating burnout.
Signs of burnout include:
- Anxiety, depression and irritability
- Sleep problems
- Changes in eating habits
- Withdrawing or losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Neglecting their own physical and emotional needs
Tips for primary caregivers on how to ask for help from family in providing care for Mom and Dad:
- Start a one-on-one conversation with your siblings and tell them you need more help caring for your aging parents, whether it’s with financial, physical, or emotional needs
- Find out if there’s anything specific they’d like to help with or suggest tasks that suit their skills.
- Share information about appointments, daily routines, special events or and current concerns.
- Keep a list of important tasks you can share whenever someone offers help.
- Set realistic expectations for how much help a sibling can help, depending on how close they are to where your parents live.
- Try not to exclude other family members from decision-making.
It’s important to remember that some adult children may refuse to help care for aging parents or may simply stop helping at some point. If they aren’t willing to work toward providing care for your parents, it’s best to let it go and focus on those who are willing to help. Trying to force family members to change rarely works, and only adds to your own stress.
Often a move to senior living can offer older adults with dementia everything they need to be as happy and comfortable as possible 24 hours a day, in a safe setting. And when this is the case, it provides you with tremendous peace of mind that their needs are being met. Such a move can allow primary family caregivers to spend more time on themselves and have better opportunities to enjoy the company of their parents.
3. Tips on Avoiding Conflict When Aging Parents Resist Care
When you and other family members recognize a loved one needs a higher level of care, but they refuse to see it as an option, it can lead to a family divide.
Here are tips from our experts at Artis Senior Living on how to avoid family conflict when Mom or Dad refuses care:
Understand their motivations. Aging is a difficult process for almost everyone, and many older adults fear losing their independence as they find they must rely on more care to get through their day successfully.
Choose your battles. No one responds well to nagging. It’s important to focus on issues that are most concerning initially. For instance, safety and healthcare should be your top priorities. Keep in mind your mom or dad may be more perceptive to discussing senior care if you don’t overwhelm them with several concerns at once.
Avoid treating your parents like children. Dealing with a stubborn parent can feel a lot like your roles have switched. Your parents are likely to respond better to a conversation about senior care in which they’re treated as equals. This goes for simple tasks like helping Mom or Dad remember to take medications or more arduous tasks like ensuring they practice good hygiene habits.
Don’t beat yourself up. Remember, you can’t make your aging parents do anything they don’t want to. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is stand by, watch your parents closely, and be ready to offer help as soon as it’s needed.
The overall goal is to keep lines of communication open with both your parents and siblings. Let them know they each have a voice in the future of your parent’s care, and your top priority is Mom’s or Dad’s health, happiness, and safety.
See Your Parents Thrive in an Artis Senior Living Community
At Artis Senior Living, we collaborate with families to learn every detail about your loved one, and work to build a lasting partnership that honors their interests, engages their mind, and provides meaningful experiences. Celebrate 10 years of seniors thriving The Artis Way by scheduling a tour of a community near you and find out how our unique approach to care can make the difference in your parent’s life.