Resolving Sibling Conflict when Caring for Aging Parents with an Elder Mediator
When it comes to working together to ensure the needs of your aging parents are met, even the closest of siblings could find themselves in conflict. Stress levels and emotions are, of course, running high. Add to that your past family dynamics and history, which tend to resurface during challenging times, and it’s easy to see how difficult this stage in life can be for each of you.
The most prevalent aspects of contention among siblings include financial decisions, differing opinions on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair balance of tasks pertaining to caregiving, just to mention a few.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you and your siblings are just unable to arrive at an understanding on precisely how to best care for your aging parents. An impasse similar to this is quite common, frequently stemming from challenging family dynamics and unresolved conflicts. However, there’s a remedy many families are not aware of that may be exceedingly helpful: enlisting the help of an elder mediator.
A professional experienced in conflict resolution, an elder mediator brings an impartial, third-party voice to family meetings. She or he can help defuse heightened emotions and outbursts and steer the conversation in a way that leads to an outcome which 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.”
Different from family therapy, which helps families sort out struggles little by little over a prolonged period of time, elder mediation is a targeted, compacted method that usually results in an agreeable outcome in just a few sessions.
Elder mediators allow siblings the opportunity to both offer input and listen respectfully to one another. The goal is not only to look for the very best outcome for the senior parents, but to help siblings maintain healthy relationships with one another in the process.
When exploring elder mediation options, there are a number of questions you should ask:
- What is your education, training, and background?
- What amount of experience do you have in our particular situation?
- 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, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your siblings decide on the most effective path forward in taking care of your aging parents, give Hired Hands Home Care, an award-winning home care company in Santa Rosa, CA, a call. We will be happy to provide a no-cost in-home assessment to discuss how we can help ensure all their care needs are thoroughly met. You can reach us any time at (866) 940-4343. For more information about all of the communities where we offer our top-rated in-home care services, please visit our Service Area page.