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What to Do If Your Siblings Deny Dad’s Need for Care

If Dad’s health or capabilities are declining, it may be best for him to get the care he needs in an assisted living community setting. For some families, that can be a difficult choice to make. But while you may be on board about getting him the assistance he needs, are your siblings?

Denial can be a tricky thing to handle, especially when it comes to deciding what’s best for a loved one. Your siblings may not recognize the level of care Dad needs or may not agree on how best to get it. Disagreements also can arise over the responsibilities that each sibling will have or the costs of his care—but it’s essential to discuss the next steps with your family members.

First and foremost, keep your conversations focused on Dad’s safety and care. Try these 5 tips for discussing Dad’s situation with siblings who may be reluctant to see his actual needs.

1. Plan a meeting.

Don’t blindside your siblings about the need for Dad’s care by simply bringing it up in an everyday conversation. Plan a time for you and your family members to meet so you can express your point of view and listen to what they have to say. During this meeting, talk about Dad’s current state of health, his projected health and how that may affect Dad’s quality of life, then discuss why these may mean he needs more care. You may need to have more than one conversation to allow everyone to feel like their opinions are heard.

2. Ask for help.

Be specific about Dad’s needs and your suggestions when speaking with your siblings. If they’re denying that he needs help, provide them with examples. Ask them to step in and help with simple things, such as tidying up his house or taking him to the grocery store. As they participate in these activities, they may begin to recognize changes in Dad that they’d not seen before.

3. Speak to a doctor.

If you can’t get past your siblings’ denial, it may be time to get a doctor involved. See if you can obtain permission—such as a health care power of attorney— to review Dad’s medical records. Discuss what’s in Dad’s medical reports and what the doctor suggests. Bringing in the opinions of a third-party medical professional often helps those in denial understand your concerns about Dad’s health.

4. Visit a senior living community.

Do you sense your siblings are resisting Dad’s move to assisted living because they hold outdated impressions of what that setting looks like? Ease their fears by scheduling a tour of the community with your siblings so that they can become familiar with a modern assisted living community. Let them know that they have a say in where Dad lives.

5. Secure mediation assistance.

If it’s been difficult to get your point across or come to a final decision, professional mediation may be the next step. There are many different mediation services that can help to lead you and your siblings to a resolution. Start with a compassionate geriatric care manager who can answer questions and allay fears.

In emotional situations such as Dad’s next life step, it’s important to separate your expectations from those of your siblings. They may be coping differently than you during this time, so being accepting, understanding, and open is essential to the decision-making process.

To learn more about the communities we manage or to request a tour, contact Life Care Services.

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