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Resolving Family Conflicts Surrounding Alzheimer’s

Dealing with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease can easily result in strong and varying opinions among family members. Upon initial diagnosis and as the disease progresses, caregiving issues and professional care decisions can often ignite family conflicts. The strategies below can help families cope with, and resolve the situation together.

Tips for Resolving Family Conflicts Surrounding Alzheimer’s

Listen to Each Family Member with Respect

Dealing with a progressive illness like Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia, can be stressful, and not everyone will react the same way. It’s to be expected that family members will have differing opinions and some relatives may choose to deny the diagnosis altogether. Family members who live out of town may have trouble understanding how the disease is progressing and others may disagree over financial and long-term care decisions. These issues are complex and emotional and will require open and honest discussions. Keeping the well-being of your loved one in mind, give everyone an opportunity to share their feeling and opinion, but avoid blaming, false accusations and attacking each other.

Discuss Caregiving Responsibilities

Talk through each aspect of the roles and responsibilities involved in caregiving. Making a detailed list of caregiver tasks – including how much time, money and effort may be involved to complete them will provide a fact based guide for discussion. Discuss how to best dividing tasks and financial responsibilities according to each family member’s available time and abilities.

Continue Talking

It’s important to keep everyone involved and up-to-date. Keep the lines of communication open by scheduling regular family meetings or conference calls to discuss all the issues. As the disease progresses it’s important to anticipate changing needs, how things are working, and to decide if any changes in responsibilities are needed and who will meet them.

Deal with Changes and Loss Together

Remember, all family members want the very best for their loved one’s care and lifestyle. As Alzheimer’s progresses and cognitive abilities change, it is normal to experience anger and feelings of loss. Caregivers and family members can seek advice and moral support from your loved ones memory care professionals, clergy, and others who are dealing with similar memory loss conditions. 

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