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Needs of Aging Parents Can Lead to Family Tensions

Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014

Family dynamics are often affected by the stress of an unpleasant reality: an aging loved one who requires help from a caregiver.

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    Kenny Higdon, owner of 5 Star Home Care, with Luther Masingill

5 Star Home Care can offer an informal in-home meeting with affected family members to talk about options that might allow aging parents to continue to live at home. Equipped with information and a recommendation, you can then work with your siblings to define a strategy for caregiving.

REASONS FAMILIES DISAGREE OVER SENIOR CARE

Parent resists care

Conflict: It can be heartbreaking when a parent is in denial about needing help from a caregiver and fights to avoid giving up independence.

Possible solution: Educate your parent about senior care options that may allow him or her to stay at home and receive help there rather than having to relocate. 5 Star Home Care, for example, sources carefully screened caregivers to provide professional, comprehensive care to people who need help performing day-to-day activities so they can maintain the independence that comes from living at home. 5 Star pairs caregivers with clients for the best possible match, and each senior caregiver’s performance is supervised and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Sibling rivalries play out in elder care

Conflict: Fighting with our siblings as children taught us conflict resolution, but most of us settle into a mature if somewhat dysfunctional coexistence as adults. However, when a parent’s needs arise to the point where family decisions need to be made, those old rivalries can bubble back to the surface.

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Solution: Set a good example by “taking the high road” and encouraging others to be caring and dignified as well during the process, even if there’s disagreement over specific points. Listen actively rather than simply waiting for the other person to pause so you can get in your next comment. Put the needs of the parent ahead of bickering over old feuds.

Covering costs for senior care

Conflict: When it comes to caregiver costs, should a sibling with a larger income contribute more than a sibling who earns less? Should a family member who has sacrificed more time directly providing care be expected to pay less or the same as other siblings? These questions, and thers

like them, have frequently stirred family conflicts because not all families agree on what’s fair. Not

all parents are able to save enough money to be financially self-sufficient, leaving the remainder of the cost to the family or government assistance.

Solution: Call a family meeting with all the people involved right away. Realistically assess the cost of care and determine how much money needs to be raised between all the involved parties based on how much each person might be able to sacrifice to make arrangements work. Be as fair as possible and, if needed, appoint an objective, non-relative as a mediator to iron out disagreements and help the family build consensus. 5 Star Home Care works with clients, offering flexible hours to fit your schedule with no contracts required. An in-home consultation

with 5 Star will help you estimate the cost of care.

Balancing the role of caregiving

Conflict: A family caregiver, who is female 60-75 percent of the time, according to the National Center on Caregiving, may be stretched thin balancing children and a career. Add the burden of caring for Mom or Dad on top of that, and it produces a mixture of guilt and exhaustion.

Solution: If this sounds like you, don’t be afraid to ask for help in specific areas from other family members, and don’t assume they already understand what’s happening. If other family members are unable to sacrifice their time, you might convince them to help pay for the cost of an in-home caregiver from 5 Star Home Care or host the parent for short periods so you can have a break.

A caregiver from 5 Star can also help balance the needs of children, parents and a job, assisting from four hours at a time to 24 hours. This enables you to remain the primary caregiver while also working outside the home during daylight hours.

End-of-life care

Conflict: If a parent is terminally ill, there may be a difference of opinion – such as hospice care versus continued medical treatment – over what is best for the loved one.

Solution: Make sure that well before a medical crisis, your parent has prepared a living will or health care directive and has designated a health care proxy to help implement the specified plans. Such decisions ideally need to be made by the parent when his or her state of mind is clear rather than left for the children to decide.

These are all unfortunate situations that require diplomacy and tact to resolve in ways that preserve family relationships. In many scenarios, a professional consultation provided by 5 Star Home Care can balance the needs of the aging senior with the capabilities of family members.

MORE INFORMATION

5 Star Home Care is licensed, bonded, insured and serves the Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City, Nashville, Cookeville and Memphis communities. For more information, visit 5starhomecare.com to download a free guide that explores the alternatives and offers a checklist of signs that can help you determine whether a loved one may need additional care. Or call 423-893-8181 to arrange your free consultation and quote, or submit your contact information on 5starhomecare.com.

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