Communications and Conflicts

Q.  “Our family argues all the time about how to take care of mom and dad. How can we work better, together?”

A. Often, when families need to care for aging parents or other relatives, the burden falls disproportionately on the person, or people, who live closest. It’s easy to see different solutions to family concerns, especially if you are the one who sees them most often. It’s also easy for others to think they know what’s best, even if they haven’t been around too much. Everyone may not even agree on which issues are most important enough to be concerned about. Most issues are rarely black or white.
People truly want to do what helps. Trying to figure that all out may cause even more stress for family members, including the relatives you’re trying to care for.


Questions to ask yourself: 
  • What needs to be done – what help do the relatives need?
  • What help do they want and how have I determined this?
  • Do other siblings agree on the problems? Why, or why not?
  • What are the arguments about – money, time commitments, appreciation?
  • How can the family work together to help their parents?
Helpful Tips: Talk with siblings or other relatives and discuss your concerns. Think about having a neutral person work with you to give you feedback about what be helpful for your situation. Get commitments to work together to, 1) take care of mom and dad (or another relative), and 2) work out family squabbles separately. Find ways for all family members to contribute to this family issue.

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