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How to Talk to Siblings About an Aging Parent’s Care Needs

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Watching our parents grow older is a part of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Over time, it’s natural for family roles to reverse as adult children become the caregivers for their aging parents. It could be that your mom or dad just needs a little help around the home, or maybe they need more hands-on assistance with daily tasks like medication management, grooming, dressing, bathing, or preparing meals. Perhaps mom is having trouble keeping up with the bills, or dad really shouldn’t be driving any longer.

Whatever the case may be, when your parents can no longer live independently and need more help than you and your family can provide at home, it’s time to start looking into senior care options. But before you present the idea of senior living to your parents, it’s wise to broach the subject with your siblings first.

How do you talk to your siblings about your aging parents’ care needs, especially if they live far away? We have a few suggestions to make the conversation easier.

Get on the same page

First things first: you’ll need to help your siblings understand why you’re concerned about your parents. If your siblings live out of state, they might not notice that your parents need as much help as they do. Even siblings who live nearby may have differing opinions about what their parents need. Explain what you’ve observed and give your siblings a chance to see things from your point of view. Has dad been having trouble getting out of bed lately? Are you worried about mom’s nutrition? Providing specific examples will help your siblings see that your parents need more help.

Keep the lines of communication open

Once your siblings know what’s happening with your parents, keep sharing information and updates with them, especially if they live far away. Stay in communication as much as possible, whether it’s through email, text, or a weekly phone call. Work as a team by divvying up tasks according to each family member’s strengths. Keeping the lines of communication open will prevent confusion and ensure everyone remains on the same page.

Start looking at care options together

Ask your siblings to help you research different senior care options for your parents. This will lighten your workload and allow your siblings to feel involved in the process. Once you’ve narrowed down a list of potential options, it’s a good idea to tour nearby senior living communities with your siblings first, before you bring your parents along. This way, you can compare notes, ask questions, and gain a better understanding of the different senior living communities to choose from.

Avoid arguments

Unfortunately, difficult decisions about aging parents’ futures can cause sibling tensions to surface. While some siblings are able to look past their differences and work together, it’s not always so simple. If you’re worried about getting into heated disagreements with your siblings, consider working with a third-party mediator. This could be a therapist, conflict-resolution specialist, or elder care attorney who helps you and your siblings stay focused and reach an agreement together. 

Final thoughts

When it’s time to help your parents choose a senior living option, consider the benefits of a continuing-care retirement community (CCRC). These communities offer many different levels of senior care—including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory support, and rehabilitation—all on the same campus. As residents’ care needs increase over time, they can move seamlessly to the next level without having to leave the comfort and familiarity of the community they call home. For families, this means there’s no need to research different communities as their loved one’s needs change. In this way, CCRCs provide peace of mind for older adults and their families, no matter what the future may hold.

Find out more about living at a continuing-care retirement community like Bethany Village by contacting us today. We’d be delighted to speak with you and schedule a tour of our beautiful community.

Written by Bethany Lutheran Village

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