Tips on how to help and stay on speaking terms with other family members

As a New Hampshire based home health care agency, we know how difficult it can be to watch mom or dad’s health decline and not know what services are available to help them maintain independence and dignity and stay in the comfort of their own home. It can make it even more difficult when multiple siblings are trying to coordinate care; it’s hard enough when everyone concerned lives in close proximity. Imagine how difficult it is when mom and dad live towns or even states away.

Here at Live Free Home Health Care, we have heard stories on more than one occasion of siblings squabbling over how best to help; this can make an already difficult situation a nightmare. Maybe one sibling isn’t doing his fair share of the hands-on work or there is another sibling who perhaps is better situated financially, yet hasn’t contributed a penny. This can cause hostility to build and create grudges that can last a lifetime, to develop.

Everyone has mom and dad’s best interest at heart but without anyone to coordinate how best to help, it can not only place more stress on the siblings but also cause more stress for your aging loved one. Imagine how hard it is for them to see their kids bicker over them! Live Free Home Health Care can help; this is one of the many areas we excel. Coordinating care between family members and physicians, acting as the quarterback if you will. We can provide home health aides in the home to assist with daily living activities or a registered nurse to provide case management and to ensure everyone concerned is on the same page and understands what is going on. We can even accompany your parent or aging loved one to his or her doctor appointments to help relay what can be at times complicated information and act as a patient advocate.

These are just some of the services we can provide, check out our website at http://livefreehomehealthcare.com/ to learn more or call us at 603-346-4214 to discuss your needs. Here are four tips to help ease the tension and get your parent or aging loved one the best possible help.

1. Understand the situation – conflicts often arise because of misunderstandings about your loved ones condition. After all, if your out-of-state sibling isn’t around to witness it, he may not know that dad sometimes forgets to turn off the stove or that mom has difficulty remembering to take her medication (medication management is another service Live Free Home Health Care offers). Fill siblings in so they’ll know why it is imperative to spend the money for in-home help. If they’re still in denial, ask the doctor to discuss your parent’s care needs with the whole clan (maybe a conference call) or hire a registered nurse to help everyone understand the situation.

2. Share the load – We all know the saying of why you should never assume anything. Just because one sibling lives closer to mom and dad doesn’t mean they will or can do most of the care giving. Have a family meeting to create a list of tasks and divide them fairly, says Linda Fodrini-Johnson of Eldercare Services. Ask for volunteers first, but make sure everyone has a suitable job. For instance the sibling that lives the furthest away may pay dad’s bills online, while one who lives closer takes on more of the day-to-day care.

3. Talk frankly about money – Money does strange things to people unfortunately. The best approach is just to be straightforward. Just because you suspect your sibling opposes a pricey nursing home or paying for in-home care because she wants an inheritance, she really could just be worried that mom will go broke by 85. If discussing the cost of care and how the family is going to pay for it is done openly, it can clear the air and prevent misunderstandings.

4. Seek out a middleman – still bickering? Get objective advice from a professional. If you have a tax problem, you call your CPA, if you have a legal problem, you call your attorney, and if your tooth hurts, you call your dentist (hopefully). The same should be true with something as important as helping your parents or loved one age with dignity while getting the care they need. If an agreement can’t be reached, perhaps you should seek out an impartial third party, like Live Free Home Health Care, to help with a care plan.

You can always count on Live Free Home Health Care to provide objective and caring advice to assist you with caring for an aging parent or loved one.

Jason Harvey
Owner, Business and Finance Manager
Jennifer L. Harvey RN BSN
Owner, Director of Patient Services

Home care is what we do; Dignity and Independence is what we provide.

Source: Money Magazine, Oct. 2006

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