Q: My mother has dementia. How do I get my siblings to stop fighting me about moving mom to assisted 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. Make a list:
- What is everyone's proximity to Mom?
- How much is each individual available to serve as a caregiver for Mom?
- How much money is available to pay for caregiving services?
- What special skills do each of us have that apply to specific care needs?
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 face the issue of getting 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.
Utilize outside resources when informing Mom of your collective decision. I often find that seniors will be more open to taking direction from me as an objective third party than from their kids whom they fear have some other motive for pushing them to move.