Tension among Seniors’ Adult Children Can Complicate Process of Providing Care
Engaging in Non-Judgmental Conversations about Concerns, Options Will Help Reduce Obstacles, Says LivHOME’s Steve Barlam
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When aging parents need assistance, tensions often flare among adult siblings.
“Start the dialogue in a way that reduces obstacles. Be simple and honest, but not overwhelming. For example, ‘I need your help’ or ‘I’d value your input: I’d like you to know what’s happening with Dad. Would you have some time next week to talk?’”
“Why didn’t you ask my opinion?”
“I wouldn’t have done things that way.”
These and other conflicts can wind up complicating the process of providing elderly parents with the care they need.
But good communication can help diffuse tension, allowing adult siblings to better focus on addressing their parents’ needs, says Steve Barlam, Chief Professional Officer of LivHOME®. Barlam discusses communication between the adult children of senior parents in the latest episode of The Senior Care Podcast by LivHOME.
“Families who are most successful with eldercare issues are those who push themselves to communicate among themselves and engage in a manner that keeps everybody in the loop,” Barlam explains.
This is particularly important when one brother or sister steps in to assume the lion’s share of the senior-care responsibilities, as is often the case. Although he or she may feel that taking the lead is the most sensible and helpful approach for all, the less-involved siblings can wind up feeling angry and resent not having been consulted on decisions.
“This anger comes on top of many other complex feelings that are naturally stirred up when parents age and need help,” Barlam notes.
The first step to overcome this is to start a conversation. “Find a convenient time and create a situation that makes it easy for siblings to participate,” Barlam suggests. “Start the dialogue in a way that reduces obstacles. Be simple and honest, but not overwhelming. For example, ‘I need your help’ or ‘I’d value your input: I’d like you to know what’s happening with Dad. Would you have some time next week to talk?’
“Above all, don’t be judgmental. Provide options and choices so that your siblings don’t feel controlled or overwhelmed. Remember that your goal is to help your parents,” Barlam adds.
Episode 39, titled “Communication between Adult Children,” can be found on The Senior Care Podcast by LivHOME homepage (http://www.livhome.com/podcast). Listeners can subscribe via RSS feed, email or through the iTunes store. The episode has a run time of 17 minutes and 12 seconds.
LivHOME is one of the nation’s largest providers of professionally led at-home care for seniors. The company is dedicated to finding solutions that enable older adults to remain in their homes as long as possible. Based in Los Angeles, LivHOME delivers high-quality at-home care throughout California as well as Arlington, Va.; Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Houston; Silver Spring, Md.; and The Woodlands, Texas.