Beverly - Conflict in Care Needs for Mom

Meet “Beverly”

I am introducing her to you as an example of a situation where adult children are in conflict regarding the care of an elder parent.

Beverly — a feisty lady who lives alone — is starting to have significant health problems. Yet she wants to stay at home in Denver. Her son, Steve, agrees. He wants to help her remain in her house by bringing in care. Her daughter, however, thinks she should move to an Assisted Living Community near one of them. The other son Andy lives in Arizona. They are thousands of miles away – literally and figuratively. And so all the siblings are at an impasse with emotions running high. At this point, Beverly is in the middle of a fight among her children at a time when she needs help and care.

For Adult Children — Getting the Help You Need for Elder Parents

Adult Child - Conflict in Care Needs for Mom

Baby boomers are now of an age when they have become the adult children of elder parents who may have health concerns. All of a sudden, their parents need help. And they have to step into a caregiver or decision maker role. What does this mean for all the Beverly’s out there?

Often the adult children don’t know what hit them. Many parents are resistant to help and fear losing independence. Siblings who always got along may suddenly feel their relationship is strained. On the other hand, old sibling rivalries can flare and escalate an already emotionally charged situation. In these cases, everyone seems to have their own opinion on what “mom” needs.

Tough Questions to Answer for “Mom”

Should she stay at home? Bring in help? Still drive? Should she move near one of the adult children? Which one? Is she spending too much money? Too little money? Is the home accessible and safe to age in place, or might there be things that create a risk of falls?

And Then There Was a Pandemic

Not to mention all the questions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. What are the complications it causes for individuals in this vulnerable age group? Should mom even be going out at all? And, if not, then will she become isolated and lonely? Is it safe to bring help into the house? And is it safe to move into a communal or facility setting?

The current COVID-19 pandemic has escalated already stressful situations. It has added even more opportunities for disagreements and stalemates among adult children regarding care needed by parents. With everyone struggling to keep themselves and their families safe, adult children are in a tough situation.

Compounding the problem is that these adult children may not have any experience working together in the past and must now find consensus in care for their parent(s). Anger, distrust and frustration often rear their ugly heads. Family relationships can be torn apart quickly under the strain of deciding on care and finances for an elderly parent.

Time to Call in the Experts – Certified Senior Care Managers

This is where a Certified Senior Care Manager can help. Senior Care Managers are trained and experienced. They help families work through issues and conflicts related to decisions that need to made on behalf of older parents. As highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals in aging and family dynamics, Senior Care Managers can facilitate discussions and advocate for solutions which prevent more serious discord within the family system.

Often a win-win scenario emerges that all can live with. Living arrangements, care in the home, “taking away the car keys”, financial issues, end-of-life decisions…these are just a few pain points that commonly are addressed.

Your Elder Care Managers Can:

  1. Assess — impartially and professionally — the elder parent’s situation and needs.
  2. Understand the elder parent’s own wishes.
  3. Talk with the adult children, separately and together, to discuss future planning.
  4. Lead family meetings with everyone having a voice.
  5. Identify and help implement an appropriate care plan.
  6. Support and guide both the older parent and children as they navigate this critical decision-making.
  7. Build consensus so desired outcomes can be achieved and relationships preserved.

Have you had a personal or professional experience dealing with a tough situation like the one affecting Beverly and her adult children? We’d like to hear about it. Share it in the comments section under this blog post.


Author

Cindy Koch, MA

Certified Placement & Referral Specialist (CPRS) | Owner

Aging at 5280 is here to help elders and their families navigate through the healthcare system and customize a plan to meet their needs.