Aging Options

LIMITED TIME OFFER: First Academy Lesson is Free

Sibling Fights over a Parent’s Care Can Be Solved with Mediation

Save as PDF

It happens all too often, even in families with little history of bickering: arguments can erupt between adult siblings over the care of an aging Mom or Dad. Sometimes these fights become years-long feuds, even ending up in court. When that happens, everyone loses, and family bonds can be stretched past the breaking point.

We found a very informative article about this problem on the well-respected Kiplinger website. The article is entitled “Solving Sibling Squabbles over a Parent’s Care,” and you can click here to read it. It gives an eye-opening account of what can happen when aging parents fail to do something we strongly advocate: make certain their adult children know their wishes as the parents age. As the Kiplinger piece states, “This scenario — middle-aged siblings squabbling over the care of their parents — is playing out in thousands of households. Siblings often fight over these questions: Who will do the caregiving? Where should Mom live? Who handles the parent’s finances? Should Dad’s life be prolonged no matter what?”

In one case cited in the article, two sisters had to take a third sister to court in order to resolve a conflict. The article quotes a Virginia estate-planning lawyer who states, “There are very few non-dysfunctional families!” He adds that arguments over a parent’s health care “often go back to childhood, over who was Mom’s favorite or who was never really attentive to Dad.” In other words, it can get really complicated.

So what’s the solution? How can you begin now to educate your kids about your wishes as you age? We agree with the Kiplinger piece that the best method is to plan ahead. Have frank conversations with your adult children about a wide array of potential issues, ranging from end of life directives to powers of attorney to caregiving decisions. Leaving these things up in the air, or hoping the kids will work them out, is asking for trouble.

But what do you do if the rift is already deep? How can you bring the different factions in the family together?

One tool that more and more families are relying on to resolve disputes is a professional mediator. As the article clarifies, mediators don’t give advice. Instead, in the words of one eldercare mediator from Denver, their goal is to “get everyone to the table and address the issues as a group.” When it comes to opening lines of communication and rebuilding trust in the midst of emotional family conflict, the services of a professional mediator can prove invaluable.

Do a web search for the term “family mediators” and you’ll find a host of helpful links. We would also welcome the chance to meet with you and your adult children to review some of these issues. We always advise our clients to involve their families early on in the process of retirement planning – it’s one of the five core areas we emphasize, along with health care, finances, legal affairs and housing. Reviewing your desires, your options and your needs in each of these areas is essential to creating a well-rounded plan – or, as we call it, a LifePlan.

The best place to start the process is by attending one of our free LifePlanning Seminars where you’ll learn valuable information you can put to use immediately to start you on the road toward a solid, sustainable plan for your retirement future. Simply click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website for dates, times and locations. We’ll look forward to speaking with you at a LifePlanning Seminar soon! Or for a personal appointment, contact us. It will be a pleasure to serve you.

(originally reported at


Need assistance planning for your successful retirement? Give us a call! 1.877.762.4464

Learn how 70% of retirement plan fails and find out how you can avoid this

Find out more about LifePlanning

Your Cart is empty!

It looks like you haven't added any items to your cart yet.

Browse Products
Powered by Caddy
Skip to content