When Family Dynamics Impact Senior Care posted on: 08-16-2017

Senior CarePerhaps 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 is like most, there’s at least some level of dysfunction, some leftover diehard sibling rivalry, and even some lingering competition to be Mom’s and Dad’s favorite. Dynamics such as these can be exacerbated as parents age, care needs increase, and the need to work together as a cohesive family unit brings those 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, as many as 40% of family caregivers are experiencing serious family conflicts, and 65% believe care needs are unequally balanced among siblings. Conflict typically arises when there’s a perception that one family member isn’t pulling his or her weight when it comes to meeting the care needs of an older loved one – reigniting any past family dynamic issues that until this time may seem to have been buried. With family caregivers at risk for such issues as depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, insomnia, and career challenges, it’s easy to understand how quickly tempers can flare among family members.

So how can family members come together and create a plan of care that’s fair to all? The bottom line: there are times when it’s simply not possible, and it’s important to come to a place of acceptance that your younger sister may not be able, for whatever reason, to handle caring for Mom at the level you’d like. Letting go of preconceived expectations as well as any feelings of resentment is crucial to obtaining peace for yourself and being able to focus on providing the very best care for your senior loved one.

Regardless of your family’s dynamics, North River Home Care, serving Boston and the surrounding area, is on hand to provide a steady, dependable resource to ensure that all care needs are fully met at all times. We work with families to fill in the gaps in care, allowing them to focus on spending quality time together and alleviating the stress often associated with meeting a senior loved one’s everyday needs. Contact us at (781) 659-1366 to learn more.