Caring for Aging Parents: How to Resolve Sibling Conflicts

adult siblings talking with mediator
Elder mediation can help siblings navigate challenging family dynamics when caring for aging parents.

When you’re working together to make sure the needs of your aging parents are fulfilled, even the closest of brothers and sisters can find themselves in disagreement. Stress and emotions are, naturally, running high. Couple that with your past family history and dynamics, which tend to resurface during challenging times, and it’s easy to see how difficult this stage in life can be for all of you.

The most frequent facets of contention among siblings consist of monetary decisions, different opinions on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair balance of duties related to caring for aging parents, just to note a few.

Oftentimes, no matter how hard you try, you and your brothers and sisters are just not able to come to an understanding on exactly how to best care for your parents. An impasse like this is quite common, often stemming from challenging family dynamics and unsettled disputes. However, there’s a remedy many families are not aware of that can be exceedingly beneficial: enlisting the help of an elder mediator.

A professional experienced in conflict resolution, an elder mediator brings an unbiased, third-party voice to family meetings. They can help defuse elevated emotions and outbursts and direct the conversation in a way that results in an outcome that all parties 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.”

Unlike family therapy, which helps families sort out challenges little by little over a prolonged period of time, elder mediation is a focused, compacted technique that normally results in an agreeable outcome in only a couple of sessions.

Elder mediators give siblings the opportunity to both offer input and listen respectfully to each other. The objective is not only to try to find the very best outcome for the senior parents, but to help siblings maintain healthy relationships with each other in the process.

When investigating elder mediation options, there are several questions you should ask:

  • What amount of experience do you have in our particular situation?
  • What is your education, training, and background?
  • Are you a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or other professional associations?
  • What are your fees?

To find an elder mediator in your community, go to APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your siblings determine the best path forward in caring for your aging parents, give Dakota Home Care, the leading home care company in Bismarck, Fargo, Lincoln, and Mandan, a call. We will be happy to schedule a free in-home meeting to discuss how we can help ensure all their care needs are met. You can reach us any time at (877) 691-0015.

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