“Caring for an aging loved one can be one of the most stressful family milestones,” writes Jeff Anderson in aplaceformom.com. “The sheer difficulty of the task, its high costs, as well as underlying family issues can collide to create a perfect storm of discontent.”

Anderson lists no fewer than then reasons families tend to fight about senior care:

  1. Adult siblings view parents’ needs differently
  2. Parents resist care
  3. Past family issues and earlier roles resurface
  4. One child does all the heavy lifting
  5. One child excludes others from decision making
  6. Paying for senior care is a challenge
  7. Parent caregiving needs to be balanced with raising a family
  8. The level of care needed by each of the parents differs
  9. There is disagreement about end-of-life care
  10. There are disputes over inheritances

“Those of you who read the posts on the AgingCare.com forum will see the cold, hard facts, writes Carol Bradley Bursack.  “You will see that, for many, the chances of a civil family meeting where you hash out the needs of your elders and agree who does what are, well, nil.  You will see caregivers stressing over siblings accusing them of spending too much of their parents’ money to care for their parents.  You will read the pleas for help from the one sibling who has quit his or her job to care full time for an ailing parent being either ignored by siblings, or worse, being accused of predatory intentions because they are ‘running the show’.”

As elder law attorneys,  Rebecca W. Geyer & Associatescouldn’t agree more with what Bursack says next:  “Ideally, before things get to this stage, you’ve had conversations with your parents about how they want their needs met during their later years. They’ve made out the papers naming a Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Power of Attorney for financial affairs.”

“Ideally, as well, all siblings are aware of these papers, what they contain and all are in agreement.  Ideally – taking care of the elders becomes a family affair,” Bursack concludes.  Amen to that!