Avoiding Sibling Disputes When An Aging Parent Needs Care

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Making the decision that an aging parent needs care is rarely easy. Having siblings to help discuss issues and generate solutions with can make things much easier—or immeasurably harder. When siblings have different ideas about what a parent’s needs are, or how to meet them, conflict can lead to permanent rifts in the family. It’s hard to see a parent struggling, whether mentally, physically, or both. The stress of this situation on adult children can be amplified if there are prior conflicts between siblings.

Another thing that makes the process of planning for a parent’s care harder is that dealing with a parent’s needs often falls disproportionately on one sibling. That sibling may feel overwhelmed, while the others may feel that they’re being left out of the loop. Often, no one is happy.

If any of this sounds familiar to you—or like it could be down the road—there are some things you can do to ease the stress, preserve relationships, and assure better care for your parent.

Planning with Siblings for a Parent’s Care in Michigan

Planning for a parent’s care can be hard simply because you’ve never had to do it before. You may not know what to expect, and you might be unaware of your options. There’s also a tendency of children, even adult children, to have trouble objectively seeing a parent’s needs. After all, they’re the ones who have taken care of us all our lives; it’s quite an adjustment to have the shoe on the other foot.

If siblings live far apart, and don’t see the aging parent with the same regularity, they may also have very different ideas of what the parent needs. With nursing home costs rapidly rising, there are also likely to be legitimate concerns about the cost of providing the care a parent needs, and who will bear it.

A geriatric case manager can help you and your siblings develop a care plan, part of a larger “Elder Transitions Plan™” prepared by an experienced Michigan elder law attorney.

How to prevent arguments and break up stalemates on these issues which must be resolved? Often it’s helpful to have an objective, experienced person evaluate the situation and make recommendations. A geriatric case manager can help you and your siblings develop a care plan, part of a larger “Elder Transitions Plan™” prepared by an experienced Michigan elder law attorney.

The geriatric case manager can help you and your siblings get “unstuck,” identify options, and marshal resources for your parent’s care: in home, for as long as possible, and in a facility if that becomes needed. An elder law attorney, as part of the Elder Transitions Plan™ can help identify gaps in your parent’s estate plan (such as the need for a power of attorney) and remedy them. An elder law attorney will also help you plan for the expense of a parent’s care, preserving as much as possible of the parent’s assets for the family.

When is the best time to develop a Elder Transitions Plan™? You can’t start too soon, and the best time is before your parent needs care, so he or she can weigh in on needs and goals. However, even if your parent is already incapacitated, an elder law attorney can guide you and your siblings through the lifetime probate process for obtaining guardianship and conservatorship.

Communicating About Your Aging Parent’s Needs

Communication is key to making sure your aging parent gets the assistance that he or she needs. Siblings need to communicate with each other, hopefully with the understanding that everybody wants the same thing: for mom or dad to receive the best care possible.

Communicating in writing is a great way to minimize misunderstandings and make sure everybody gets the same information. Having a written care plan and estate plan as part of an Elder Transitions Plan™ can help all siblings get on the same page about what care is needed, how it will be arranged, and how it will be paid for.

To learn more about Elder Transitions Plans™ and care plans, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. Our office can connect you with trustworthy geriatric case managers and provide you with guidance for every step of the process in getting your parent the best care for their particular needs.

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