When Families Don't Agree on Care for Aging Parents

When Families Don't Agree on Care for Aging ParentsDeciding the best care for aging parents is a hard and emotional decision, especially when families don't agree. There is no clear-cut answer to questions such as "when is it time to get help for Mom or Dad?", "should they stay home or move to a senior living community?", and "which options are the best for their long-term health and happiness?"

Everyone may not agree on a solution or timeline, so i'’s important to keep an open mind and heart.  When there is disagreement, here are some tips to help all family members keep lines of communication open and come to a decision.

Set a time for all family members to be in the same physical location.

Distance and lack of face-to-face communication can be hurdles in finalizing senior care decisions for family members. Set a date to be in the same place to research options and visit senior living communities together. At the very least, utilize Skype or some type of application to allow for face-to-face conversation.

Meet WITHOUT Mom and Dad to discuss each person's concerns regarding senior care options. 

Once everyone is together, take the time to address each person's concerns and preferences in care for your loved one(s). This meeting is a time to be open minded yet forward with your thoughts and preferences. Everyone may not agree on one single solution but try to come up with 2-3 solutions for Mom or Dad. This way you can present a few options to your parents or loved ones.

Identify the point person who will be the contact responsible for follow up.

Identify one person who will serve as a point of contact for senior community advisors or home care service contacts. Ideally, this person will handle communication with potential partners and will keep all information (pricing, location, services, etc.) together to share with the group. Having multiple people manage information can cause confusion and unnecessary work.

Plan a way to discuss the process with Mom/Dad & embrace their feedback by asking questions.

Once you've decided on your options, plan on how you will present these options. Here are a few questions to get you started:

Read Tips for Talking with Family about Senior Living, for more guidance on questions to ask when talking with Mom or Dad about senior living.

Let the person moving make the decision.

You will have strong feelings about a certain community or home care provider, but you must take the time to get feedback from the person moving. After all, it's their decision. Let Mom or Dad make a choice between 2 or 3 top options. Give them the authority to consider 'his' or 'her' choices. Make them decision makers throughout the process. If a senior community is the best option, make sure they are involved in decisions such apartment size, the location of residence and furniture to bring with them. If staying at home or with a family member is the best option, let them decide what rules will be in place around this decision.

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