As some seniors age and their care needs become more complicated, it is not uncommon for their adult children to have vastly different opinions on how to best manage the situation. The challenges that come with caring for an aging parent are more difficult if there is tension among family members.
In this blog, we will take a look some common disagreements among adult children when trying to support an older parent, and what can be done to resolve them.
The Level of Care that is Needed
A typical sticking point among adult children with regard to caring for an aging parent is determining how much care is actually needed in order to meet their needs. Some members of the family might prefer to keep their parent at home to age in place, while other siblings may insist that a Senior Living community is the best setting to meet their needs.
A good way to find resolution for this situation is to have all adult children sit down together, and calmly define exactly what their parent’s specific needs are.
Whether the parent is experiencing safety issues in the home, needs some help with the Activities of Daily Living, or is experiencing other challenges, reaching a consensus among siblings will go a long way in finding a workable solution to their loved one’s care needs.
An Unbalanced Distribution of Care Duties Among Siblings
It is fairly common in families to have certain siblings bear more of the responsibility of caring for an aging parent than others. This dynamic can cause a lot of tension among adult children, and bring forth negative emotions such as resentment, anger, and bitterness.
One of the most detrimental ways of handling such a situation is to ignore it, or have certain siblings fail to express their true feelings about the mismatched share of care responsibilities.
It is very important that siblings communicate openly and honestly about the amount of care that is needed for their parent, and who is going to fulfill those needs. Adult children should meet often to assess what care is required for their mom or dad, and come up with a game plan of how the group as a whole can work together to meet those needs.
For a variety of reasons, it may not be possible for all siblings to share equally in parental care duties, but everyone should agree to help as much as they can.
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Resisting Childhood Behavior Patterns
Everyone’s goal for an aging parent should be to provide the best and most appropriate level of care for their loved one. Sometimes in stressful situations, adult siblings can fall back into childhood behavior patterns that are dysfunctional or unhealthy.
Intense dynamics among siblings can sometimes derail certain individual’s ability to be fully helpful. Each adult child should be watchful that they do not revert to childhood behavior patterns that could negatively affect the family’s ability to care for a parent.
Seeking Professional Help
A qualified social worker or counselor can be a great help to adult children with regard to proactively resolving family issues. They can also assist in making sure all of the siblings remain focused on the primary goal of providing the best care for their parent.
These professionals are trained and experienced in managing complex emotional situations, and can help family members keep their interactions with each other positive, and constructive.
Working Together to Care for An Aging Parent
It is very important that all adult children work together harmoniously to ensure that their aging parent’s needs are being met.
By coming to an agreement on the type of care needed, resolving misalignments of responsibilities, resisting childhood behavior patterns, and being open to seeking professional help, adult children are in a much better position to accomplish the goal of providing the proper care their parent needs and deserves.
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