Making Family Decisions for Aging Parents

16398299_xlCaring for an elderly or sick parent can be a difficult thing to face alone – but it can sometimes be even more of a challenge when there are multiple family members involved in the decision making process. Naturally, differences of opinion are going to arise at some point, and if they aren’t resolved in a mature, constructive manner, the aging parent will unfortunately be the one who suffers the most. The following is a list of 5 tips for dealing with common family conflicts that often come up regarding senior issues before they interfere with the care of your loved one:

One Share Responsibility
Some family members may not be able to handle the reality of watching their aging parent or relative deteriorate mentally or physically or may not have the time, so when they choose not to be involved, one or more others are left to shoulder all of the burden. Often the child or relative who lives closest to the elderly or sick parent will be the one who takes on the role main caregiver – whether they are equipped to deal with it or not. This person and those who are helping them should not be afraid to ask other family members for help. Sometimes it is necessary to directly relate your needs rather than presume they are already understood.

Two Identify
Individual Strengths
Which brings us to the next tip on identifying strong suits. There will undoubtedly be a lot involved in caring for your ill or aging parent, so divide and conquer. Everyone has both strengths and weaknesses, so family members should choose roles accordingly. For example, the person who is the main caregiver may not be the best one to also handle the finances. And someone else may be more effective at communicating with the doctor or medical staff and reporting information to the group.

Three Hold Regular Family Meetings
Life gets hectic and you won’t always feel like you have the time to check in, especially when family members live across the country from one another. Thankfully, in this day and age there are many outlets that enable everyone to be a part of the discussion, even if they can’t be there physically like FaceTime or Skype. In each meeting, make sure everyone gets the chance to talk and express his or her true feelings and opinions without being shut down or ridiculed. Remember, you all want what’s best for your loved one, and you are a team.

Four Allow a Professional to Resolve Disagreements
Chances are not everyone will view a parent’s needs in the same way. While one person may feel their mom or dad is doing simply fine on their own, another family member may feel it’s time to bring in some help. An easy way to quickly resolve questions of this nature is to ask for an expert opinion. Arrange for a visiting nurse with a background in elder care assessment to observe your parent at home and decide whether they need some supervision and ask their doctor for a second opinion. Besides this, you can also take help of agencies like Senior Care Boca Raton who can connect compassionate seniors with those who could use a hand and a smile. Basically, by matching seniors, it could be possible for you to understand the needs of your ageing parents. Moreover, if your parent is the one resisting care, help them understand your concerns and educate them about the senior care options available. They may be scared and feel unwanted or unloved, so reassure them that you will find a place together where they feel comfortable.

Five Plan an Agenda
Assign someone to plan a schedule for the first meeting on topics that need to be talked about so everyone has a clear idea of what needs to be discussed. Items may include sharing feelings, medical updates, discussion of your aging parent’s wants and needs, living arrangements, cost of care and funding, support for caregiver (shopping, transportation, cleaning, laundry, etc.), visitation schedule, etc. Be sure to recap everyone’s responsibilities at the end of the meeting so there is no confusion as to who has agreed to take on what tasks.