Home Health Care News

The 50-50 Rule: Real Life Situations (Part 5)

Who’s The Boss?

When crisis erupts in your family, does everyone have a solution? If so, you’re not alone. Check out how to keep order when the unthinkable happens. If you’re a 50-year-old sister, the burden often falls of you, according to research.

At Death’s Door

You’re at the hospital where your mom’s sudden stroke has left her in a coma with little possibility that she will survive. She has no living will or other advance directive. Suddenly, your sister-in-law pipes up to say she thinks the family should discontinue life support. Tempers flare. How does your family maintain control of this situation?

There are few situations as emotionally charged as the death of a loved one. Many of the biggest dramas for families occur in the last months, weeks and days of a family member’s life. The passing of a parent is a very personal time. Try to hold a meeting of siblings and a surviving parent so you can make those decisions that are in the best interests of your mom.

Tell your sister-in-law as kindly and calmly as you can that this is a personal family situation and, while you appreciate her concern and respect that she is “family” as well, this is your mother and it’s important that you and your siblings make these decisions together. It will be easier if your dad is still alive and capable of helping make that decision. He can step in to “take charge.” If not, explain that you know your mother the best and the fewer people involved in decision-making, the better. Tell your sister-in-law that stepping back from this situation could help alleviate any guilt she may experience after your mother’s death. She won’t have to wonder if she gave the best advice.

If you don’t think your sister-in-law will accept this approach, why not involve a third party? Most hospitals have a social worker on staff accustomed to dealing with such situations. Explain your dilemma to the hospital staff. They can advise you how to proceed.

To help avoid these issues in the future, acquaint yourself and your loved ones with the “Five Wishes.” This is a document that helps families discuss sensitive end-of-life issues. Go to www.4070talk.com and look for the Life Legacies Overview in the left column. You also will find other valuable information about planning for the end-of-life issues and what documents need to be in place.

Destination Unknown

You’re surprised when your dad calls to say he wants to move to a care community. But he’s decided that you and your siblings should determine his fate. Everyone is fighting about different ideas. How do you achieve consensus?

Your dad has put you all in an awkward situation by asking you and your siblings to choose for him. It sounds as though your father is competent enough to know that he wants to be in a care community. It could be that your dad is just overwhelmed at the idea of being alone in a big house that he can longer maintain.

Meet with your dad and try to find out if, in fact, he does want to move from his home or he just needs help around the house. If he does want to stay at home, that would rule out some of the options your siblings are fighting about. And is it a family conflict or just multiple points of view? There is no need to make a fight of your father’s request. If your father is capable of making an informed choice, propose that all siblings meet with your dad to ask him his preference. Tell him that each of you has a good idea and then seek his opinion.

Since your father opened the door to your family’s involvement in this decision, teamwork will be the best approach to resolving the dilemma. Gather the family to come to agreement with your father. In the end, if your father is of sound mind, the decision must be his.

Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

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Murrells Inlet, SC 29576