I am fighting with my brother about caring for mom. What can I do?


Anyone who wishes to resolve a disagreement or conflict by meeting, talking, and accepting the guidance of a mediator can use mediation. It requires a willingness to come together in a neutral place and spend the time working to get the dispute resolved.

It also takes a willingness to listen to the other party or parties to the disagreement, and to make some compromises or agreements with them.

In caring for elderly parents, many families experience conflict over what to do for an aging loved one. Some fight over who is doing the most work. Some argue and criticize the choices and work one sibling is doing for an aging parent. Others are in a constant state of disagreement over where their elder should live, or who should take care of the elder.

All of these areas of conflict can be successfully addressed. If the family is unable to resolve their own disputes by talking them over in the family, it may be time to consider an outside source of help: elder mediation. This is a process in which people who have a dispute choose an outside neutral person to work with them to air their differences and make a guided effort towards agreements. The parties sit down with the mediatior, who is a trained professional, to negotiate solutions to the problems that are causing distress among them.

Sometimes, the process only takes two or three hours. If there are mulitple issues, the parties to dispute, may need to have two or more sessions with the mediator. The mediator does not tell the parties what to do, or decide the solutions for them. Rather, a mediator helps people to see things from a different point of view, and to reach their own negotiated agreements. Mediation can save untold grief and stress, and can prevent things from boiling over into lawsuits and destructive actions by one family member against another. At AgingParents.com, we work as co-mediators to help familes in dispute. We can also help you to find a mediator in your area.

Carolyn Rosenblatt is a registered nurse and attorney who has 40 years of experience. She is the author of "The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents." Read her full biography

You May Also Like

Free AgingCare Guides

Get the latest care advice and articles delivered to your inbox!


Narcissist Sister is deliberately refusing to cooperate with me regarding limitations for my elderly Mother with Alzheimer's. She disregards the very advice of doctors, nurses and counselors where my mother's comfort and safety are at the center of her care.
I have been good to my mom and dad for years. Doing all the "celebrations" for the last 25 years. Lavishing them with dinners and gifts and catering to their every whim. this was for my aunt, dad, and mom who are now 93, 91, and 97 respectively. they are now with demenstia. All this time my brother did nothing but tell my dad that I was "emmotional" and "couldn't handle" things. I am college educated with a master's degree. I wondered all this time why he never discussed any financial or trust issues with me. Now he has pre dementia and the other two are demented. My brother has monopolized all legal angles and I do not have access to an legal or financial documents or accounts. When I ask or warn my dad about the horrible things he is doing like changing trust documents, then hiding them so that nothing can be proven, with drawing huge amounts from personal accounts as my dad signs blank checks willingly, and having doctor's sign my aunt and mother as incompetent without informing any of us, my dad defends him and calls me " crazy". I call my releatives and family friends and they tell me they have to hang up because he's told them the same story. Apparently he has told my dad this story for years and has him convinced that I "am not capable". My dad was the most precious thing to me all these years. I loved him so dearly that just the thought of him dying would break my heart. Yes, I was emmotional, and that was because these 3 old people were the most precious people to our family and we did everything humanly possible to make their last 20 years the most memorable possble. We gave, gave, gave, and gave. Everything was all one wway. NOW, they say, that was the PAST. they are not grateful at all and
my brother has told them that our deeds and thoughtfulness "does not count".
My dad still demands I be the sole caretaker when he passes of mom and give up my entire retirement years entirely for her. He promsed me the famly home, but I feel docents were changed and he was asked to sign them unknowingly. When I try to warn them, I get cursed and called names. I cry and pray everynight for months. My only survival are my friends who have been as supportive as they can. I have a very demanding and stressful job and a handicapped son so I must stay strong and on top of things. this is greed and Narssissism at it best. My releatives are all non supportive. My sons and husband go through anguish so I have decided not to put them through any legal issues at this time.
This is the first time posting on this site.....I have an elderly mother who is 85. I do not live close by keep in contact every other day and try and help long distance. Unfortunately, I have a younger brother who lives close and basically lives off said parent. I have two other brothers and their families that live in the same town that try and stay connected. The younger brother and his wife have become very possessive of my mother and never really leave her alone. When I call they tend to appear out of nowhere and I end the call rather than upset my mother. The brother is not really forthcoming with information, especially if my mother falls. He is supposed to be her helper, but leaves her alone regularly and does not help, but when he needs money. He talks badly about the other siblings and tries to start trouble. My mother just recently ended in the hospital and I took it upon myself to contact her nurse and see if they would be able to get someone to care for her in her home as she had sustained an injury. The brother has shown verbal abuse, but because he is the youngest and basically a screwup my mother sadly defends him. The other siblings in the family are reluctant to go and visit as he shows up and does not let their visit be private. I really do not want to contact APS as I do not really want to upset my mom, but at the same time she is not fairing well in the environment....I don't know if anyone has had similar or if there is some sound advise, as I would appreciate anything at this stage...