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You feel like nursing homes are horrible
places where people go to wait to die. They have
been abandoned by their families, who are too busy to
take care of them. Because they feel so guilty
about this decision, and the nursing home is such a
horrible place to be, their families hate to visit.
They come by less and less, make excuses, and before you
know it, Mom dies in a nursing home alone, surrounded by
mean strangers, full of bed sores, thin as a rail and
you will never forgive yourself.
How do these two extreme opposites come
to an agreement? The willingness to accept each otherís
opinions without judgment will open the environment to
true and helpful communication. Hold the family meeting,
including all siblings, spouses and children. If you are
absolutely certain you want to bring Mom into your home,
try it for thirty days. Create a list of what
needs to be done. Maybe your brother cannot
imagine helping his mother get dressed, but he can pick
up her medications. He will not take time off work
to take her to the doctor during the week, but he is
willing to pay the neighborís kid to mow her lawn.
By accepting each otherís
opinion, you can move onto what is possible. Focus
on what each of you is willing to do to make this
happen. All of the family should be involved in
these decisions, and all concerns should be addressed in
some fashion. Compromise on those issues you
cannot agree on. Do things on a trial basis and
determine how the family will evaluate if it is working.
Hold another family meeting in 25 days and this time try
to include Mom. Is she happy? Is anyone
unhappy with the arrangements? What adjustments need to
be made? Will this work long term?
Good communication is just the beginning
of what your family is capable of. Good Luck.
Anna Walters, RN, is the Director of
Memory Care at Senior Star Living in Romeoville,
Illinois. Anna has also been a family caregiver which
has given her a more personal perspective into the
complex problems of caregiving.