Adult siblings don’t always share the same ideas on what’s best for aging parents. One may think Mom is doing OK at home and just needs a little help, while another may want her to consider a retirement community. Their different opinions are understandable, but what’s most important is working together for Mom’s best interests.
Brothers and sisters should get together as soon as they recognize a parent is having difficulties. It’s best if all siblings can meet in person to discuss the situation, though that ideal may not be possible for all families. They should discuss:
- What are Mom’s (or Dad’s) needs?
- What is our goal for her?
- What areas should we address? (e.g., legal, financial, personal care, health care, shopping, transportation, home maintenance)
- What are her senior living options?
- How should we divide up our responsibilities?
- How and when will we approach Mom about our concerns?
When older children meet with aging parents to address concerns and senior living options, it’s important they be united in spirit. “It’s crucial that all the adult siblings are giving their parent the same general message,” says family therapist Barry Jacobs. This should comfort and ease the stress and worry of their mother or father.
Keys for a successful outcome: time, planning, communication and patience
Families who wait until a crisis occurs to begin discussing a senior parent’s needs may regret it. It allows less time for research and decision making and can lead to mistakes. Acting promptly gives them time to look into senior living options like care at home, retirement communities, driving alternatives and health care services.
Tension between siblings may be expected, but it can be minimized with ongoing, open communication. During their planning, research and communications, adult siblings should keep their focus on their parents’ needs. Parents should be as involved as possible because the desired outcomes are their comfort and family harmony.
Get our guides on talking with aging parents and exploring senior living options
At Country Meadows Retirement Communities, we know changing parent-child relationships can be uncomfortable and even upsetting. We strive to care not just for seniors but for families of seniors, too. To help you manage your concerns, we have prepared a free guide, “Talking About Touchy Topics with Your Aging Parents,” which you can download here. You can also pick up a copy at any of our Country Meadows locations.
In addition, for guidance in understanding what options are available and making the right decisions for your parent and family, you can download or stop by for our free guide, “Navigating the Maze of Senior Living Options.”
If you’re thinking of choosing a retirement community, we hope you will contact us. We would be happy to introduce you to any of our Pennsylvania retirement communities—in Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, Wyomissing, two in York and three in the Lehigh Valley—or in Frederick, Maryland. At all 11 locations, you will discover senior living options that are personalized and fulfilling.