Strengthening Troubled Sibling Bonds to Deal With an Aging Parent (NYTimes)
I’m writing to you from my hotel room in Ontario, Canada today, where I’m finishing up some last minute details before heading out to give a training program on preventing senior bullying (iron suit — check!).
This week’s post comes from Abby Ellin, writing in the NYTimes Money column about the use of elder mediators to help families jointly and sanely make difficult decisions about elder care.
ROSIE, Therese and Linda McMahan were always close, but after their father died unexpectedly in 2011, they found their relationship strained.
They did not know what to do for their 84-year-old mother, Rose, and their brother, Paul, 53, who has cognitive disabilities and is in a wheelchair. The sisters tried to find an assisted-living home nearby, in the Boston area, but couldn’t. And so after many months, they decided that their mother and brother would move in with Rosie’s family in Amherst, Mass.
“We were all confused and upset about the situation,” said Rosie, 51, who is an educator and a counselor for teenagers. “We had so many questions. How much respite should my sisters offer me? Should Mom’s name stay on the deed of the house? Where will either of them go if I can’t keep taking care of them?”
“It was hard to figure it out,” said Therese, 50, a midwife in Somerville, Mass. “How do we make decisions? What do we all feel comfortable with? What are the guidelines we’re going to adhere to? Every conversation ended with someone crying or hanging up, or both.”
To help them navigate those difficult waters, they went to mediation to learn how to “stay in each other’s life and not have it be destructive,” as Rosie put it. “We wanted to stay connected as siblings, but if you don’t get someone else to help you out, you kind of fall prey to your childhood antics. A mediator makes a hard job a little easier.”
For the rest of the article, click below: