What do you do, if you and your siblings cannot agree on Mum’s care?

A typical story, daughter comes, to the office – Mum is having increased memory issues, she has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and needs more care. One sibling thought Mum could stay at home, with additional home care, while another thought, Mum needed an assisted living facility, receiving increased care and supervision. Another, has no opinion.

Usually, the sibling who lives closest to Mum is the primary caregiver. Therefore, she believes she is in the best position to determine her capabilities and needs. However, the other siblings may not necessarily agree, with the care proposed. Caregiving, and other issues, regarding aging parents, offers a plethora of differences of opinions.

Consequently, family tensions rise. Thus, families do not communicate with each other, or worse, hire attorneys to fight over Mum

However, if you reach stalemate, the family can turn to mediation. The mediator can calm the situation and keep the focus, on Mum. In mediation, everyone gets to voice their thoughts and opinions, and hopefully, reach an agreement.

The discord is, usually, the following:

Financial    -           Who manages the checkbook – mistrust by others

                              Receives an unequal share of financial support – resentment by others

                              Provides financial support – anger & bitterness by the provider

Medical     -           Nursing Home v. Assisted Living v. Home care

End of Life  -        Feeding tube & aggressive medical v. Hospice care

Inheritance  -         How much money do I get?

Baggage issues –    Jealousy, sibling rivalry, personalities, economic and geographic issues.

Mediation is considerably cheaper than litigation, $150 to $500 per hour for several hours for a private mediator's time, or a nominal fee, in lieu of very expensive litigation lawyers.  

For elder mediation  – call CALM at 301.631.2256 or visit their website at CALM.

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  1. firstSTREET says:

    This can be a tough issue when siblings disagree on how to care for their elder. Hopefully, the specific needs of their parent comes first, and is the main motivation for finding alternate care. As you mentioned, if it comes down to it lawyers and mediators might have to be involved. The bright side of this is that people care and disagree how to express it, rather than don’t care at all.

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