Alternative Dispute Resolution for Seniors and Their Families – Blog Series Part 1

This is the first part of a 3-part series dealing with common questions when it comes to issues with seniors, their families, and alternative dispute resolutions. This first part we will discuss why a family might need to go down the road of dispute resolution and the kind of disputes that come up when family are caregivers. There are many reasons disputes might arise among families that act as caregivers. It is important to assess your situation carefully when considering which steps are next in the process. In some cases, consulting with a family law or elder law attorney may be necessary.

Part 1: Why might a family need a dispute resolution process?

As our parents get older, they may become incapacitated and Alzheimer’s or dementia can rob them of their independence. The caregiver role usually falls to a family member- an adult child or sibling of the person affected. In a perfect world there would be no issues or qualms, but that is often not the case.

Family dynamics, paired with the history among parents and siblings, can lead to clashes when it comes to making decisions. What fuels this family fire is fear, feelings, and stress. These pile onto an already difficult situation.

What kind of disputes come up when family members are caregivers?

The historic and present-day roles of each family member come into question.  Old hurts and resentments can surface when watching a parent or loved one decline. Caregiving is a full-time job and can cause tension between family members if one person feels like another is not contributing as much, making the ‘wrong’ decisions about care for the loved one, or, often, issues with money management arise.