Family Conflict When Caring For An Aging Family Member

Every family has conflict.  However, when dealing with a senior family member, it can become even worse.  As a caregiver, you will find yourself in the middle of plenty of family drama.  This can make your job even harder, especially if the family tends to get you involved.

There are many reasons for family conflict.  Some of them include:

There is some conflict that has been going on for years.  Some rivalries go all the way back to childhood.  One child may think that their brother or sister was treated much better.  Maybe there was a fight in high school that no one was able to get over.  Add in the strain of an aging relative and these petty conflicts can become massive!

If the family has already decided that they need a caregiver, they are starting to work together.  However, it may still be a big struggle as they decide whether or not their parent should live on their own or be placed in a home.

Finances are another common conflict.  Getting the right care for an ailing family member is never cheap.  Unfortunately, the decision may be made on what type of care is affordable.  One family member may want to help while another one can't afford to.

Financial disagreements can be over getting the right care, though just as often, it turns into which family member has handled their money better and is able to help care for their aging relative.

Another common conflict is usually in the division of the labor.  Usually, one person will feel like they are doing all of the work, even if they have help.  They might feel like they are the only one who visits on a regular basis.  Another may feel like they are always getting calls in the middle of the night and are losing sleep because they are constantly rushing over there.  One may be tired of dragging an unwilling parent to the doctor and wants help.

Even with a caregiver, someone still needs to take care of the bills, get the mail, go shopping, clean, cook meals, and much more this usually does fall on one person more than the other, though you should try to convince everyone to pull their fair share.

Some family members may resent another that doesn't live close enough to do anything.  There is nothing harder than having an aging family member while you live several states away.  However, the remaining family members may feel like that person has it easy.  They are not dealing with the every-day work to keep a house running with a senior or sick person in it.  They may wish for time away, though they are there every day to support their aging family member.

How to help?

Always document any issues/incidents in an electronic format that adds date/time stamps automatically.  Discuss any situation with your agency's care coordinator where you feel caught in the middle of family conflict.  Your agency may work directly with the family to help find a resolution or sometimes a neutral third-party can calm feuding family members.

Family counselors can help to bridge the differences between family members, assuming they still talk to one another.  If things have become really heated, a family mediator specializing in senior care issues may be able to break through the ill will and help build consensus and find middle-ground.

See how Caring Companions At Home can help you and your family communicate better with your seniors, friends and family.  We have been in the business for 18 years and have experienced this in many of the families we have serviced.


Caring Companions At Home - A Licensed Home Care Company

881 Dover Drive, Suite 260, Newport Beach, CA 92663

949-574-0750 - Fax: 949-574-0725 -