When Family Dynamics Impact Caring for Elderly Parents

Caring for Elderly ParentsPerhaps your family rivals those on Walton’s Mountain in its unconditional love, unwavering patience with one another, and determination to stick together through thick and thin. But if your family members are similar to most, there’s definitely some amount of dysfunction, some leftover mulish sibling rivalry, and in some cases a bit of lingering competition to be Mom’s and Dad’s favorite. Dynamics such as these can be exacerbated as family members start caring for elderly parents. Care needs increase, and the need to work together as a cohesive family unit brings old childhood hurts to the surface.

Clinical psychologist Craig Grether shares, “When there is a family crisis with a parent, the adult children, no matter how educated they are, no matter how successful, with a variety of life experiences, they regress to the same dynamic of whatever was going on when they were 7, 8, 10, 12 years old.”

The reality is, around 40% of family care providers are experiencing major family conflicts, and 65% feel health care needs are usually unequally distributed between siblings. Conflict generally occurs whenever there’s a perception that one family member isn’t pulling his or her weight with regards to meeting the caregiving requirements of an older family member – reigniting any earlier family dynamic concerns that until now may seem to have been hidden. With family care providers at risk for such challenges as depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, sleeping disorders, and career pressures, it’s understandable how quickly tempers can surface among family members.

So, just how can loved ones band together and develop a plan of care that’s fair to all? The conclusion: there are occasions when it’s really not possible, and it’s important to come to a place of acceptance that your younger sister might not be ready, for whatever reason, to manage attending to Dad at the level you’d like. Releasing preconceived expectations along with any feelings of resentment is essential to finding peace for yourself and to be able to focus on providing the absolute best care for your elderly loved one.

No matter what your family’s dynamics, Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is available to provide a regular, reliable resource to make certain that all care requirements are fully satisfied at all times. We work together with family members to help fill in the gaps in caring for elderly parents, enabling them to concentrate on spending quality time with each other and alleviating the stress often connected with meeting a senior loved one’s everyday needs. Contact us at 269-849-9252 to find out more about how we can help your senior loved ones with our professional St. Joseph homecare services.

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