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Providing care for a loved one is often a family affair. A recent article ("Working with Siblings Toward Caregiving Solutions," December 2014) explores how to make decisions as part of a family meeting:


  • Consider getting help from a social worker or other neutral party.
  • If possible, involve your parent in making decisions about his or her care.
  • Prepare an agenda in advance, with topics such as:
    • Your loved one's medical status
    • The level of daily care needed
    • Financial concerns
    • Each person's responsibilities
    • Who will make decisions, and how
    • Ways to support the primary caregiver


It is not always easy to come to an agreement about how your loved one will be cared for. Family history and sibling rivalries can make caregiving complicated. A recent article ("A sibling's guide to caring for aging parents," November 2014) provides communication strategies to work through conflicts and effectively share the decision-making:


  • Talk about your current family dynamics. Don't assume that everyone will automatically slip into their usual roles, i.e., "the responsible one" or "the screw-up."
  • Focus on the present. Don't drag unrelated, past issues into the discussion.
  • Truly listen to the opinions of others. Realize that you all may have different ideas about how things should be done, and commit to compromise.
  • Primary caregivers need to ask for—and accept—help. Be specific about what you need and how you can support one another.
  • Be clear about finances. Make sure there is a detailed plan for who will handle Medicare and oversee other healthcare bills, as well as how daily living expenses will be handled, if necessary.


How did you make caregiving decisions?