Disagreements are common among family caregivers, especially siblings. The different personalities can trigger negative emotions and lead to arguments. For your aging loved one’s safety and wellbeing, you and your siblings need to get along and work together. Below you’ll find tips that can help siblings handle conflicts when caring for an elderly parent.
1. Remain Respectful
You might not know what your siblings are facing at home or in the workplace. Staying positive, even during difficult times, could help your family manage caregiving conflicts and lead to healthier relationships. When you feel like lashing out verbally, it would be best to leave the room until you’ve calmed down. Saying hurtful things could damage relationships and make it difficult for you and your siblings to work together in the future.
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2. Use Good Communication Strategies
If you and your siblings never listen to each other and avoid discussing the problems at hand, it could become difficult to care for your loved one as a team. However, when siblings are active listeners and work together to find solutions, most conflicts are preventable or easy to solve. Good communicators are aware of their thoughts and don’t let their emotions take over when having conversations. Sometimes negative emotions could prevent siblings from coming up with acceptable solutions.
3. Stay Open to Change
Family caregivers need to remain open to others’ suggestions and try them out. As long as your parent’s safety isn’t in jeopardy, there’s no harm in using a tip from one of your siblings. If you refuse to accept suggestions or make necessary changes, it could lead to caregiving conflicts. If you’re unsure of how a specific change will impact your loved one, ask his or her primary care physician for recommendations. Having a professional step in with facts could defuse the situation and prevent unnecessary arguments.
4. Do Your Part
You may have multiple caregiving duties, such as picking up prescriptions or helping with laundry, but your siblings could have more complicated tasks that require extra hours of commitment. To avoid conflict, you should do more to free up time for your siblings. They can spend those hours with friends, catch up on rest, or handle work-related tasks. When you do your part instead of putting more of the responsibility on your siblings, you can avoid conflicts associated with caring for your loved one.
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5. Choose Your Battles Wisely
Agreeing with your brothers and sisters about every aspect of your parent’s care is unrealistic. You all have different personalities, and at some point, disagreement is likely to occur. Choose your battles wisely, and learn to walk away when it comes to minor differences. For example, if your brother wants to paint your loved one’s walls a different color, you should avoid an argument in this case. However, if he wants to change your parent’s doctor, this is something that deserves more focus and everyone’s input.
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