The decision to move a loved one into a senior care facility is never an easy one, but disagreements among family members can make a difficult situation even harder.
Each family member will have his or her own opinions, especially when it comes to something life-changing like this, and that can lead to disagreements—which in turn can lead to long-lasting problems within a family.
To keep that from happening and to make the transition to a senior living facility easier on your loved one, you have to work together as a family. It isn’t effortless, but here are some tips for pulling it off.
Get where they’re coming from
When arguments start erupting or some family members become difficult to work with, it can feel like a hopeless situation. After all, you can’t make them change their mind. But the key to getting back on track may be in taking a simple step.
“The first step to getting that family member on board is to understand their reason for not wanting the move,” said Tami Neumann, producer and host of the senior-focused radio program, “Conversations in Care.”
Often people will have a practical reason for not wanting to move a loved one to a senior living facility—whether they’re worried about funding, the type of care their loved one might receive, or the change in lifestyle.
By understanding these reasons, you can start to work together to find a solution.
Call a family meeting
Once you know everyone’s concerns, hold a family meeting to help address those issues and talk frankly about the decision to move your loved one.
“By sitting down to get the entire family on board with a plan, arguments are less likely to evolve,” Neumann noted.
She recommends covering these important issues during your meeting:
- What can your loved one afford? Can other family members pitch in financially?
- What location is best?
- What does your loved one want and need in a senior care facility?
Be clear about finances
Arguments about the financial side of things are very common and can get very heated. Understanding the reasoning behind what fuels these problems can help you solve them.
“Family members begin to argue … when they feel the other family member is hiding something or being sneaky,” Neumann said.
Avoid misunderstandings by being as transparent as possible about the finances.
Give everyone a responsibility
Often people resist change because they feel they’ll be left out of the new arrangement. To keep members of your family from feeling useless, make sure they each know what role they have to play, even if it is just visiting with or calling your loved on a regular basis.
“Remember, there is never a role too small when caring for someone you love,” Neumann said.
Even a small role can make a person feel more involved.
Consider a mediator
If you’re still struggling to unite your family, bringing in a third party might be a good idea.
“Having the doctor or even hospital case manager can help,” said Neumann.
If that isn’t an option, she suggested hiring a geriatric case manager who will evaluate the situation from a neutral standpoint and help the family reach a decision.