Siblings, Family Feuds & Aging Parents

“Mom always liked you best!” Funny how that phrase can spark the wildest of family feuds among siblings…and unfortunately, it doesn’t always improve as we age!  

As our parents’ age and their health and mental abilities begin to fade, adult children become increasingly involved in caregiving as well as decision-making.  Some families face these challenges by working together to assist and support each other.  But that is not always the case, as age-old sibling rivalries and bitter disagreements can arise.  

Often it goes back to those childhood relationships – who is the favorite? who tends to “take charge?,” who just avoids getting involved and doesn’t carry their share of the load?  Depending upon what has happened over the years, these old roles, resentments, and conflicts can resurface, making caregiving and decision-making, even more difficult.

If parents become frailer, their children must begin to face these issues:

  • Money management – are the bills being paid accurately?
  • Safety and Security issues – should they still drive?
  • Medical and health care decisions – are the right prescriptions taken as needed?
  • Long-term care – can mom or dad still live at home, do they need senior housing?

What if your family is at odds on decisions such as these?  How can you resolve them, can you begin to work together, not against each other?  

A couple of solutions – that could help you avoid legal fees:

  • Host a family meeting and try to keep the focus on your parent/s needs, not yours
  • Even better, hire an Independent In-Home  Assessment of your parents’ care needs from a professional Geriatric Care Manager.  Be sure to get a written report with recommendations.  
  • Have the Geriatric Care Manager host a family conference to discuss their recommendations and help your family determine a Plan of Action.   This should help facilitate decision making; especially if there is disagreement among family members.