when family members disagree about eldercare

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reasons for conflict among family members over elderly care

With your parents getting older and with age, comes the most pressing question of their care – who is to become the primary caregiver or which living arrangement to select for them. Although having your family by your side in these times can be extremely beneficial – physically, emotionally and financially, there would be times when having to consider more than one opinion can become a source of a rift among the family members.

When families put aside their differences and work cohesively as a team they can easily overcome the varied challenges of elderly care and assure that their parents’ last days are spent happily and are not marred with bickering and strife. However, setting aside differences in the interest of the loved ones appears far easier said than done. Hence, in this article, we would try and point out ways you can resolve your differences and agree with each other. Firstly, lets have a look at few common reasons for dispute among family members over elderly care and their possible solution.

reasons why family fight over elderly care

Siblings view parent’s need differently 

This is one of the most common reasons for dispute among family members. While one member has the impression that the parents require advanced care, others may not see the need for any special care or need to shift the parent to an elderly care facility. Sometimes even parents might resist shifting to an assisted living facility even when other family members completely agree.

Possible Solution – The only solution for this stalemate is to seek expert guidance. Arrange a consultation with a doctor and a nurse experienced in elderly care to get a thorough health assessment done. This health assessment would finally lay to rest all the dispute regarding whether or not parents require any specialised ageing care.   

One child bearing the onus of parents care

Quite often the onus of caring for the ageing parents falls upon the sibling living closest to the parents, while other siblings get away with occasional visits and vacations. This can often lead to a feeling of resentment in the primary caregiver’s mind for the other siblings.

Solution – If you are the primary caregiver of your parents, don’t be afraid to seek help from your siblings. Be more verbal regarding the kind of help you expect from your siblings rather than presume that they understand what you need from them. Point out the challenges you are facing in caring for the elderly, and where your siblings may be able to contribute, like sharing the financial burden of elderly care, hosting the parents for a short time so you can have a break.

Financial Stress of Elderly Care

Caring for the elderly can be expensive and put a strain on your financial health. Should the higher-earning sibling contribute more than the lesser earning sibling? Should the sibling providing care for the parent be exempted of sharing the financial cost? These questions and more like being one of the most common reasons for dispute among family members.

Solution – The best solution for these situations is to have open communication with each other. Ascertain the cost of elderly care and determine how much everyone can contribute. It only appears to be fair that the sibling with a lesser income is not expected to contribute the same as the sibling with higher income. However, when it comes to family dispute people rarely go by what’s fair and not. In these situations, a neutral and knowledgeable voice of an outsider – a common friend or relative, can prove to be beneficial in resolving the dispute.   


Money can do weird things and a family dispute over inheritance is a common phenomenon across the world. A sibling primary responsible for your parents’ care may feel entitled to a larger share of the inheritance or any feeling that one sibling getting more than their share of inheritance can interfere with caring for the elderly. 

Solution – Inheritance related disputes are best sorted by family mediators, who can help all the siblings find common ground. They can also help establish clear communication to not let money interfere with a senior receiving proper care.

protecting elderly parents from siblings 

As essential it is to agree on a common care plan for your parents, it is equally important to protect elderly parents from greedy and ruthless siblings. These situations are often too common where a child takes advantage of the elderly parents financially and puts them through physical abuse. So, if you too are facing a similar problem and suspect your sibling of such misdoings here are a few steps you can undertake to safeguard your parents’ finances.

  • Meet up with an elder law attorney to discuss legal options.
  • Help your parents meet a financial planner, who can help your parents with long term care planning.
  • Educate your parents about the benefit of making a financial power of attorney.
  • If your parents are unable to manage their financial affairs, consult an elder law attorney and petition for a conservatorship.
  • Finally, if you doubt your sibling may try to take the property from your parents, talk to your parents regarding naming an executor of a will or trustee of a living trust.

Besides, financial abuse parents also sometimes have to suffer from other kinds of abuses like psychological abuse, physical abuse and neglect. Regardless, of the type of abuse a parent is undergoing in the hands of a sibling, it is important to spot it at the earliest and take corrective actions – legal or family mediation, as soon as possible to ensure the safety and health of your loved ones

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