Our family can't agree on whether or not mom should move to assisted living. What's the solution?

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Q: How do I get my elderly mother with dementia and my siblings to stop fighting me about moving mom to assisting living? We are at a standstill.

A: It is important that you and your siblings get on the same page about moving your mom to assisted living, and figure out the best way to care for Mom together.

I often work with families in this situation, and I find that it helps a lot for the siblings to have the opportunity to each share what they think is best for Mom and why they think that.

Through this process, we can usually reach a collaborative agreement that works for everyone. Part of the process is to identify the various resources you and your siblings each bring to the situation.

Resources include proximity to your Mom, time available to serve as a caregiver, money available to pay for caregiving services, and special skills that one of you might have. Sometimes, once you all have a good sense of the resources you collectively bring to the situation, the range of feasible options becomes clear, and agreeing on a direction is relatively easy.

Then, once you all agree, you come to the issue about getting your Mom on board with the plan. How you get your Mom to agree to a move (if that is the ultimate plan) will depend on her cognitive status. You mention that she has dementia. Depending upon how severe that is will determine whether she can truly be a participant in the dialogue.

As her children, you and your siblings have a responsibility to see that your Mom is safe and well cared for, and if the best place to do that is in assisted living, then that is what will need to happen. If Mom is able to participate in the discussion, it's important for you to give her a chance to get used to the idea of this important transition before it happens.

I often find that seniors will be more open to taking direction to me as an objective third party than from their kids whom they fear have some other motive for pushing them to move.

Sheri Samotin brings more than 30 years of business and management experience to LifeBridge Solutions. She is a Certified National Guardian, Certified Daily Money Manager & Certified Professional Coach. She is the author of Facing the Finish: A Road Map for Aging Parents and Adult Children.

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5 Comments

My mom had five children, I feel two of them only called her when they wanted money, the youngest and oldest. My mother is now in a ALF and I am the only sibling that pretty much has anything to do with her. I have POA and didn't know it because my parents never told me until he got real sick and she fell into depression by trying to take care of him. So I am the only one that visits, takes her shopping, and brings her everything that she asks for but most of listening to her complaints. No matter how much I do for her I feel that it's never enough, my husband tells me the same thing, I feel like I'm in a tug of war, I just want to scream. I can feel the anger build up, the last time I emailed my older sister I was very upset with the whole bunch. She asks about mother but won't call her not even a card to let her know that she is thought of. Well I kind of blew up, told her off and said that I hate all of you. She wrote me back and didn't understand where my anger was coming from, I could of screamed! I have been doing EVERYTHING for my mother for the last two years, don't know if she appreciates it but I know my siblings don't, they're relieved that they are not in my shoes. I could go on and on, just wanted to vent, don't feel like I can talk to my husband all the time because he just doesn't understand what I am going through, not in my shoes. Sometimes when we do talk I get defensive about the subject then that leads to an argument. Maybe today will be a good one.
Stop fighing. Move mom to Assisted Living. If they want her, they can go get her.
my 2 cents is set up a care schedule, make sure it is divided up evenly with all siblings helping, even the one's with FT jobs, they can do night or evening shifts. If they can't agree to put her where there is full time care, they should help be the full time care. Because, I'm assuming here, you are the caregiver primarily and they just know what is best and don't offer a lot of help. Let me know how this works out. You've found a great site with lots of helpful people going through the same issues.