For quite a while, you’ve noticed that your mom’s mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be. At first, it was small things that you just chalked up to normal age, distraction or stress.
Now, you realize that your mom probably has some form of dementia. Bills are going unpaid, she’s missed a ton of doctor visits, she no longer seems to remember much of anything recent and gets confused and upset really easily.
You think she needs a guardian, and it may be time to put her in nursing care. Your sibling, however, disagrees.
How do you resolve a dispute about a parent’s care without a lot of drama?
Disputes between siblings over what an elderly parent needs are pretty common. Sometimes, the resistant sibling lives at a distance and simply hasn’t seen the problems. Sometimes, they just choose to ignore them, for whatever reason. Sometimes the whole suggestion brings up long-simmering sibling resentments and tensions.
To settle the problem, you can try:
- Family therapy: Just having a neutral third party in the room can sometimes encourage people to put their emotions aside and focus on what really needs to happen. At a minimum, it can help you understand your sibling’s feelings and reactions and foster new lines of communication.
- Eldercare mediation: Mediation seeks to help the opposing parties come to an agreement they can both accept. The mediator knows how to facilitate conversation and nudge people toward peaceful resolutions.
- Help from a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM): GCMs can assess the situation and explain what kind of care a person needs. As an independent voice with some expertise, they can often help end speculation over whether a parent really does need a guardian.
Finally, you may have to think about litigation. If the situation is no longer bearable or safe, it may be time to look into all your legal options.