The 50-50 Rule: Overcoming Family Conflict is in the Best Interests of Aging Parents

Siblings1 300x200 The 50 50 Rule: Overcoming Family Conflict is in the Best Interests of Aging Parents

For more information about the local Home Instead Senior Care offices serving the Greater Pittsburgh area, visit www.homeinstead.com/greaterpittsburgh or call 1-866-996-1087.

Anyone who cares for seniors whether in the hospital or home setting has seen the behind-the-scenes family conflict that can interfere with the care of an elderly patient. Siblings may not have much in common now that they’re grown, but they do share one thing: responsibility for the care of their mom or dad.

“Any family that has cared for a senior loved one knows that problems working with siblings can lead to family strife,” said Lucy Novelly, a local franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care that serves Washington County and South Hills. “Making decisions together, dividing the workload and teamwork are the keys to overcoming family conflict.”

Coined The 50-50 Rule, this program offers strategies for overcoming sibling differences to help families provide the best care for elderly parents, which in turn helps the professionals who fit into the overall care dynamic. The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age (50) when siblings are caring for their parents, as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share in the plans for care 50-50.

“If you’re 50, have siblings and are assisting with the care of seniors, it’s time to develop a plan,” Novelly said. “This program can help.”

At the core of the 50-50 Rule public education program is a family relationship and communication guide of real-life situations that features practical advice from sibling relationships expert Dr. Ingrid Connidis from the University of Western Ontario. Medical professionals, administrators and others who find themselves in contact with families may benefit from understanding more about such family dynamics and may become a third party mediator in discussions regarding the overall care and health of a senior.

“Like all relationships, siblings have a history,” Connidis noted. “Whatever happened in the past influences what happens in the present. Regardless of their circumstances, most siblings do feel a responsibility to care for parents that is built from love. And that’s a good place to start – optimistically and assuming the best.”

According to the website Caring.com, family feuds often revolve around the following areas and impact the health status of a senior:

Engaging parents in caregiving issues is important, Dr. Connidis said, and so are family meetings that involve a third party if necessary. A third-party resource, particularly a professional such as a doctor or geriatric care manager, can provide an impartial voice of reason. “Talking before a crisis is best,” she said. “Talk to one another about perceptions of what happens if seniors need help, how available you would be, and the options that you and your family would consider.”

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