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Agreeing on the Right Place for Mom
Thursday, June 02, 2005
I and my brothers and sister are now trying to decide what to do about my mother, who has been living with me for the past year. I have small children, work part time and taking care of my mother, who needs a lot of attention and help, has become too much. I suggested putting her into a care facility, but my brothers and sisters don't like the idea. Nor do they have any suggestions or offers of help. How can I get us all to come to agreement?
families have an interaction that makes decisions like yours a snap.
Emotions stemming from childhood often form part of the dynamic between
siblings, and that can be difficult.
Choose the setting
your brothers and sister live nearby, then you can get them together to
discuss the issue in person at your convenience. If not, schedule a
meeting when you do get together, regardless of the damper that it may
put on the occasion. Christmas, for example.
Explain that your
mother’s and your own wellbeing are important, things are not easy for
you, and the subject has to be addressed by everyone. After all, you
all want a say. Try hosting the meeting somewhere other than your house
– a church meeting room, community centre meeting room or an empty
restaurant. This makes the meeting more formal, tougher to walk out of
and separates everyone from feelings attached to your family
surroundings. At the very least make sure that your mother is elsewhere!
you are a religious family, you might ask your pastor, priest etc. to
moderate the meeting and bring everyone back to earth should emotions
run high. If you are not religious, a trusted contemporary of your
mother’s could fill the same role.
Know your Options
likes to choose from a grand total of one option. Put forward several
options, which could include having your mother live with a sibling for
half the year, residence in a care facility near you or a facility near
them, living in a nearby apartment with help or nursing care for some
or all of the day, and others. Having some idea of the costs associated
will help as well.
Put a Price on your Time
quality of life and enjoyment are obviously suffering. Work out how
many hours per week you spend taking care of your mother. I know this
is difficult, because it is likely all mixed up with the rest of your
life. Put a price on your time. An average wage for a basic caregiver
in Canada hovers around the $10/hour mark, depending on the quality of
care needed and other specifics. I’ll bet that it adds up to quite a
few dollars every week.
Make a List
Make a list of
the opportunities that you have missed (dinners out; vacations; weekend
activities) and have this list handy for your brothers and sisters. No
one can dispute the sacrifices that you make on a daily basis when they
are written down!
Talking in generalities about such a touchy
issue may not get you anywhere, but if you are well prepared and
determined to find a solution, your brothers and sister will recognize
this and work with you to come to an equitable solution.