Arranging care for a relative who needs it can be a complicated business with so many things needed to be sorted out from finances to who is going to walk the dog or feed the cat. It is a sensitive subject which can be made even more difficult when family conflict comes into play.
The first decision to be made concerns the choice between care at home and residential care. Most people prefer to opt for home care services as the best option on so many levels for the person needing to be cared for. But what happens if the family can’t agree on this and they can’t even set aside differences from the start; how do you handle this?
First Step – Ask the Person Needing Care
The decision on what type of care arrangement is needed rests first and foremost with the person who needs care and regardless of what the family think this should be the first topic of discussion. They may prefer to be cared for at home but need help in working out the costs and in finding a carer. This should be discussed with all relevant family members early if possible and preferably whilst there is still the mental capacity to make a decision.
Sort Out Who’s Doing What
Even where the care recipient decides to opt for a professional carer, family members must decide how and where they can offer additional help whether that is taking charge of the finances, helping with days out or liaising with healthcare services. Regular family meetings are essential to thrash out who is going to be responsible for which tasks and once agreement is reached it may help to draw up a contract of some sort to help keep track of things.
It sometimes happens that once care is in place and the carer, whether professional or family member, is going about their work, criticisms start to arise from other family members who perhaps aren’t as involved in the care but can’t help offering unwanted opinions on how things should or shouldn’t be done.
This can lead to tension and discontent on all sides which will most impact the care recipient. This is another area where communication can fail so to avoid an escalation of bad behaviour try to keep talking to identify and smooth over any problems before they become overwhelming. Family members not involved in care must avoid interfering unless there is good reason to but if the same issues keep cropping up you must try to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.
Children Must Be The Grown-ups
It is a fact that for as long as our parents are alive we will always be their children, but once parents become old and need care children must put aside the urge for one-upmanship and start working together for the benefit of their parent. This means cutting out tired old arguments to become the grown-ups in the relationship. When a person reaches the stage in life where they need extra looking after this is the time to set aside family differences and find a way to work together for the good of the whole family.