When it comes to discussing care options, it’s not uncommon to experience discussions and disagreements between siblings and other family members. Arguments threaten to flare up over issues like: sharing responsibility for care, methods of care, money and inheritance and emotional problems.
In the second of her articles, Giulia Turbiglio of online carer platform SuperCarers talks about how to avoid conflict.
One of the most common reasons for siblings fighting over elderly parents is who takes responsibility for the care of mum or dad. Even if all siblings want to help look after their parents, not all have the time and energy to do this. If one sibling is ‘less busy’, they may be expected to shoulder the burden – but this may not be fair or practical.
Try talking about the prospect of caring for your elderly parents before it becomes an urgent matter. If you’ve already fallen into established roles, call a family meeting to discuss how you can find an arrangement that suits everyone better.
Before having the conversations with your parents about care and getting help, you may want to do some research on the care options that are available to you.
Another aspect of caregiving that can generate sibling resentment is financial contributions. Ageing parents may be on a limited income and not be able to afford the rising cost of care – things like home carers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes. Children may feel the need to contribute, and ask other siblings to do so as well.
Money is a very personal matter and you don’t always know what’s going on with your siblings behind the scenes. You also can’t force anyone to part with their money if they don’t want to give it. It might help if you come up with a budget for the care plan you have in mind to make it very tangible how much is needed and how it will be spent. If your sibling understands, they may be more inclined to contribute. Ask what they think they can give. Listen.
What to do if your elderly parents resist the idea of care
Talking to ageing parents about changes is not always straightforward, and sometimes they will refuse the idea of care support altogether. So, how can you get your elderly parents to accept help? If an elderly person refuses assisted living, a care home or at-home care support, ask them some questions about why. If you can understand their objections and anxieties, you may be able to provide reassurance or counter their arguments.
Explain to them that their condition is deteriorating, and that it is becoming dangerous for them to have no support. They may want to talk to their GP or practice nurse about their situation, and get their advice on whether they should be home alone, too. They may also want to get the opinions of other family members or friends; sometimes hearing the same thing from several people who all have your best interests at heart can be more convincing and reassuring.
Also, remember to give them some time to think. This is a very important decision, and your parents may take a little while longer to come to the same conclusion as you. After all, none of us like to admit that we are getting older.
You may like to also look at When an elderly person refuses to accept help