Importance of Communication, Pt. 2

Communication, p2I previously mentioned how Marjorie and Jim discussed their care preferences with their daughter Susan (not their actual names) in case they became unable to care for themselves. However, what would happen if their other adult children, who were not as close to them and did not understand their wishes, became involved?

In this all-too-common situation, Susan’s sister suggested moving Marjorie and Jim to an assisted living facility near her. Their brother believed that hiring caregivers to come into the home for several hours a day would be too expensive and didn’t want to use their parents’ assets to pay for it.

As a result, the siblings were fighting with each other. Meanwhile, Jim and Marjorie’s wishes were being ignored, and they felt depressed about their children’s arguments.

I facilitated a discussion among the siblings, explaining that moving Marjorie and Jim to an unfamiliar place without friends or relationships with established medical professionals would lead to adverse outcomes far outweighing any benefits. Ultimately, the siblings agreed to keep Marjorie and Jim in their home with loving caregivers.

Unfortunately, in many cases, siblings are unable to agree, and their parents’ wishes are ignored. This can lead to additional stress and loss of control, which can accelerate the parents’ mental and physical decline.

S. Gerber & Associates, 3730 Kirby Drive, Suite 1200, Houston, Texas 77098; 713-857-3227;

Sid Gerber