Caregiving can bring out the best and worst in family relationships, as many relatives come together out of love for the individual who needs care. Even families who get along may face some conflict as they work together to care for their loved one. Sibling rivalries and unresolved family resentment may arise in the stressful situations that can occur while deciding how to best provide care. Here are tips on how to manage some of the trickier family caregiving conflicts.
Practice the 50-50 rule
CaregiverStress.com recommends families use their service-marked “50-50 Rule,” which is a program based on a simple principle. The rule refers to the average age, 50, when siblings start to care for their parents, and the need for siblings to share their plans for care 50-50. The news outlet reports that research has shown that in 43 percent of American families, an inability to properly work together leads to one sibling taking on the bulk of caregiving responsibilities, which can cause caregiver stress and burnout.
This principle of sharing tasks, responsibilities and even ideas among siblings or relatives may be a good one for families to keep in mind as they move forward with their loved one’s care plan.
Engage the loved one in the care plan
If possible, it can be a good idea to engage the loved one who requires care in the discussion among relatives of what will be best for him or her. When siblings disagree about financial matters, family inheritance or another hot-button issue, a problem may be resolved by the senior’s preference. It’s a good idea to get issues like this ironed out in advance so no one is scrambling in the face of a crisis, the website reports.
Bring in a third party
Sometimes, conflicts simply cannot be worked out among the family. While the senior loved one may be a good mediator between fighting siblings, for instance, other times someone from outside the family will be needed to resolve issues, the Family Caregiver Alliance reports. For example, a lawyer or financial advisor may help sort out disagreements on what to do with Mom’s money or estate planning issues, and a social worker or therapist may be able to help sort out emotional issues that are getting in the way of the best care for a loved one.