Learn How To Avoid Common Sources of Family Tension

Learn How To Avoid Common Sources of Family Tension

Family members sometimes disagree about how to support an older relative.

Families can avoid or reduce conflicts by:

  • Asking older family members about their needs, wishes and priorities
  • Asking older family members about their financial and legal plans
  • Explaining why they are asking and how they will use the information
  • Discussing concerns, tasks and plans with everyone involved
  • Sharing information and making decisions together
  • Taking turns helping or splitting up tasks
  • Asking trusted friends, community leaders or counselors to guide big or difficult family discussions

Common sources of tension when helping older family members include:

  • Feeling that others aren't doing their fair share
  • Feeling left out, unappreciated or taken advantage of
  • Not feeling listened to
  • Resentment towards "favorite" family members
  • Concerns about safety or finances
  • Disagreements about how to balance safety and independence
  • Expecting women to help more than men
  • Stress about balancing work, family and other responsibilities

Families can more easily work through disagreements if family members:

  • Say what they have seen or heard that concerns them
  • Share concerns without blaming or attacking others
  • Ask about and try to understand others' points of view
  • Are open to new information and different perspectives
  • Are aware of how they and others respond to stress
  • Manage stress by taking care of themselves
  • Try not to take things personally
  • Avoid bringing up old arguments
  • Are aware of and try to avoid difficult family patterns like old arguments