How to Handle Family Disagreements about Long-Term Care
The subject of how to care for ailing parents or relatives can be one of the most divisive for families. Some may want to care for parents at home, while others may feel that a long-term care facility would be the better option. Add the prospect of hospice care, and the conversation can become even more heated. These conversations are strongly influenced by emotion and by perceptions of right and wrong – they are rarely guided only by the facts of what kind of care the person needs.
Even if the parties all agree on what should happen, they may still argue frequently because they feel that one person shoulders more responsibility or pays more, that someone is not emotionally available, and so on. There are a lot of issues that can get tied up in these discussions.
Here are a few tips that can make handling these disagreements about long-term care a little easier:
Understand the Heart of the Conflict
People aren’t always upset about what they say they are upset about. For example, your brother will say he doesn’t want mom to be in a home, but what he’s really worried about is how he’s going to help pay for that kind of AZ long-term care. Confronting him with that suspicion won’t help improve the conversation. However, that information might let you know that you need to discuss ways to make the finances easier, which can ease the conflict.
Typically, conflicts about long-term care are fueled by one of two issues: Injustice and inheritance. Injustice refers to one person’s feelings that something is unfair about the situation, such as that they are providing more of the at-home care or are paying for more of the professional services. Inheritance is usually about one of the parties worrying that the cost of care will cut into their inheritance, or that one person will gain favor in the will for putting in more time.
If you can get to the heart of the conflict and understand what motivations are driving the arguments, it can help you understand how to diffuse the situation. Again, you shouldn’t make accusations about a person’s motivations, but you can make gentle and diplomatic suggestions that can assuage fears or hurt feelings.
Hold a Family Meeting
Having a one-on-one conversation can quickly lead to conflict. The interaction can feel more intense and personal, and that can cause emotions to flare. Instead, hold a family meeting to discuss issues so that the conversation doesn’t feel as confrontational.
During this meeting, it is important to be honest and frank. However, you should avoid blaming statements, insults, and other emotionally charged statements. Discuss the needs of your loved one and how they can be met. Then establish what responsibilities and roles each person would have. Make tentative plans for the future, including whether and when to use hospice care near Mesa.
Get a Mediator
This is a big discussion to have, and it’s easy for it to go off the rails. You may find that no matter how honest or even-handed you are, the conversation continues to blow up with accusations, name calling, and blaming.
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If you or your family members are having a hard time getting past the anger or hurt feelings, it’s worthwhile to hire a mediator to help you through the discussion. Find someone who is specialized in senior care or long-term health needs. You can also work with an advisor or counselor to get advice or to guide the discussion.
Know When to Take the High Road
You cannot change the way others feel or behave. The only thing you can change is your own behavior. If other people are making rude comments, yelling, or refusing to cooperate, you can make the choice to disengage. You don’t have to respond in kind. Nor do you have to dig in and insist on having things your way.
Take the high road by letting some things go or agreeing to a compromise or even smaller things that aren’t as important to you. Stick to your guns when it’s something really important, and try not to get overly emotional in your responses.
When you are discussing something as important as long-term or Mesa hospice care, it is important that you find the right professionals to provide that care. Not only will those professionals give your loved one the best care, but they will also provide services that can help you navigate the important conversations with your family. At Americare Hospice and Palliative Care in Arizona, we provide counselors to help families have these discussions and to determine how to allocate financial resources. We also have spiritual and grief counselors that can help families in hospice come to terms with their feelings about the impending or actual death of a loved one. Call us in Arizona today to learn more about hospice care or to speak with a counselor.
1212 N. Spencer St., Suite #2
Mesa, Arizona 85203