How to Preserve Relationships When Siblings Disagree on Elder Care

Siblings Disagree on Elder Care
Often siblings or other family members disagree on how to plan for aging loved ones; help is available to navigate and restore relationships.

When you are working together to make sure the needs of your elderly parents are satisfied, even the closest of siblings can find themselves in disagreement. Levels of stress and emotions are, naturally, running high. Combine that with preconceived notions resulting from past family history and dynamics, which often tend to resurface in the midst of difficult times, and it’s easy to see how troublesome this stage in life can be for all of you.

The most prevalent aspects of controversy among siblings include financial decisions, differing viewpoints on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair division of responsibilities pertaining to caregiving, just to name a few. Care-related communication tools that foster participation and transparency, such as the Family Portal for Happier Home Care clients, can help when siblings disagree on elder care.

But at times, regardless of how hard you try, siblings are just not able to arrive at an understanding on exactly how to best provide care for aging parents. An impasse similar to this is quite common, often stemming from complex family dynamics, unsettled differences, and muddied by communication styles and temperaments. However, there’s a remedy many families are not aware of that can be extremely beneficial: enlisting the help of an elder mediator.

For mediators, resolving conflict when siblings disagree on elder care is an everyday occurrence. As a professional skilled in resolving conflicts, an elder mediator brings an independent, third-party voice to family discussions. They can help defuse elevated feelings and outbursts and direct the discussion in a way that answers questions and leads to an outcome that everyone can accept.

Elder mediator Susanne Terry explains, “Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents. They just look at it in a different way. Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”

Different from family therapy, which helps families work through problems little by little over a prolonged period of time, elder mediation is a focused, compacted strategy that typically results in an agreeable outcome in just a couple of sessions.

Elder mediators give siblings the opportunity to both provide input and listen with respect to each other. The objective is not only to identify the very best outcome for the aging parents, but also to help the rest of the family preserve healthy relationships with one another in the process.

  • When investigating elder mediation options, there are several questions you should ask a mediator candidate:
  • Are you a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or other professional associations?
  • How much of experience do you have in our particular situation?
  • What is your education, training, and background?
  • What are your fees?
  • What is your goal for this experience?
  • What does success look like to you?

To locate an elder mediator in your community, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your siblings decide on the best path forward in taking care of your parents, contact Happier Home Care, the leading home care company in Burbank, Granada Hills, North Hollywood and surrounding areas, to explore options for home care. Our team of senior care professionals will schedule a free in-home consultation to discuss how we can help ensure all your loved one’s care needs are met. You can reach us any time at 818-651-6679 and see our full list of communities served.