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My family members disagree about how to care for our relative. What help is available?

Family dynamics and sibling roles often are intensified when there is a family crisis or stressful situation. Making decisions about the long-term care of an older or disabled relative certainly can present such a situation. It is important to recognize that people may react to stress in many different ways. Many successful caregiving families report that they have divided up the responsibilities according to individual preferences and abilities. That way, everyone feels involved as a contributor and the burden for the primary caregiver is significantly lightened. A family meeting can be the key to accomplishing such an agreement and to making adjustments as the situation changes. For more information, read FCA’s fact sheet Holding a Family Meeting.

If additional help is needed, you may want to consider the services of a mediator, social worker, geriatric care manager or other professional who can facilitate a family meeting, inform your family about care options, and help you make decisions about the long-term care of your family member. The following agencies can help you identify a qualified person to assist your family:


Eldercare Locator

Connects older Americans (60+) and their caregivers with the local Area Agency on Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, which provides information, assistance, and other services to caregivers, and community-based organizations.


National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)

NAELA maintains a comprehensive list of elder care attorneys whom can also provide mediation services for families.


Aging Life Care Association (formerally National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers)

Geriatric care managers have expertise in overseeing the care of seniors. They are typically paid out of pocket and can do a thorough assessment of your family’s situation. This organization lists geriatric care managers near you: