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How to avoid common mistakes when caring for aging parents

Adult children are looking after their elderly parents more often than in the past. Caring for your aging parent can help you maintain a close relationship with them, but it can also carry a lot of extra stress. This is especially true when siblings cannot agree to the type of care their parents will receive and the cost of that care.

What can siblings do to prevent disputes?

Disputes among siblings can lead to fighting and costly legal expenses in some cases. How can siblings avoid disagreements over care for their aging parents? The first step is to learn about how to avoid common mistakes and what steps to take to make sure your parents receive the care and attention they need as they age.

Some of the most common mistakes adults make when it comes to their parent's care include:

  • Lack of communication: Siblings should keep each other informed about what is happening with their parent's life and need for care. This will help everyone have a better understanding of the type of care their parent may need and how to plan for the future.
  • Lack of a plan: Not having a clear plan for your parent's care is a common mistake. Siblings should discuss with their parents and each other the type of care their parent needs now and in the future. This often requires the assistance of a lawyer to create a power of attorney and other relevant estate planning and elder care documents.
  • Failure to work together: This goes along with not communicating with each other. Siblings need to be on the same page in order to make sure their parent is taken care of according to their wishes. While one sibling may have the legal power of attorney to make decisions, it is still important to consider your siblings' input when making decisions, especially if a plan or agreement is already in place.
  • Failure to understand the full picture: Many adult children avoid discussing end of life care with their parents. This is an understandably emotional issue, but it's an important one to discuss sooner rather than later. Adult children need to understand their parent's wishes in order to make sure they receive the care they want and deserve.
  • Failure to talk to an attorney: Do you understand how legal conflicts, inheritance or other disputes can impact your family? These issues can result in costly litigation that often tears the family apart. Seeking legal guidance about these issues right away can prevent future disputes and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them when it comes to their parent's care.

It is difficult for siblings to always agree on their parent's care. However, understanding each sibling's role and their parent's wishes will create a better environment for an open discussion that will hopefully prevent disputes and potential legal challenges in the future.

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