Having a family member with Alzheimer’s disease is a stressful situation for everyone involved. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dealing with Alzheimer’s can bring out many strong emotions. As the disease progresses caregiving issues can often ignite or magnify [existing] family conflicts.”
Carole Larkin (personal interview), a certified dementia consultant, estimates that 30 percent of her clients have conflict between family members. She says you can double that for blended families.
According to Larkin the most common types of conflict are:
1. Disagreement between the spouse and the children on what needs to be done (especially likely when the primary caregiver is male).
2. Disagreement among the children on what needs to be done.
3. Disagreement among children of blended families about what needs to be done and who should pay for it.
Conflict is especially likely in families where people didn’t get along previously, when the primary caregiver is not a direct family member (such as in a second marriage), and when some of the family members live out of town and only see the loved one for short, infrequent visits.
The conflict typically affects the primary caregiver more than other family members. It can be endlessly frustrating to have others make caregiving suggestions that are unreasonable because they’re based on a lack of knowledge and understanding of the patient’s condition and abilities.
For example if a parent living alone is no longer able to do laundry, a child might recommend using a laundry service. What the child might not know, however, is that the parent wouldn’t even be capable of opening the door and giving the laundry to the service person when they arrive for the pickup.
Another example is that one of the children might suggest placing the loved one in an assisted living facility. Siblings who haven’t been around their parent very often might not be aware that the person couldn’t even find the dining room or find their way back to their apartment after the meal and a whole host of other problems.
The Mayo clinic has the following advice for families where there is significant strife: 1) Share responsibility, 2) Meet face-to-face regularly, 3) Ask someone to mediate if needed, 4) Be honest and don’t criticize, 5) Join a support group, and/or seek family counseling.
To look at each of these points in detail, follow this link for full article by Marie Marley-