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5 Tips for Dealing with Family Conflicts While Providing Dementia Care

When a parent or family member is living with dementia, there are many things to consider. Depending on the number of people involved in the dementia care journey, different family members may have conflicting opinions about ongoing care and support.

Dealing with family conflicts can place additional stressors on the family and the person living with dementia. Whether these conflicts center around the type of care, financial responsibilities, or how to best handle certain situations, they can lead to frustration and resentment if not resolved.

At Bella Groves, we know that dementia care is a collaborative care experience involving families, health care providers, and more. With a robust dementia training program, a library of dementia resources, and a residential dementia care community near San Antonio, we are here to help you better understand dementia and ensure your loved one receives the best level of care needed.

We encourage you to share this article with those involved in your dementia care journey to improve communication and the overall care experience for your family.

1. Set Expectations

Family conflicts can often arise because of differing expectations among family members. When you are discussing the next steps in your dementia care journey, it is important to ask key questions:

  • What are the primary responsibilities for each family member involved?
  • Will the person living with dementia continue to live at home, or will they move into a dementia care community?
  • How will changes be communicated among the family?

As the Alzheimer’s Association points out, “these issues are complex and require ongoing discussions. Give everyone an opportunity to share their opinion and avoid blaming or attacking each other.”

2. Communicate Often & Openly

Although establishing a clear set of expectations is an important first step, communication is essential to dealing with family conflicts and avoiding issues down the road. 

Dementia is progressive, so a person living with dementia will continue to experience changes in the brain that can impact memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities. Be sure to communicate changes in condition or care to everyone involved in the dementia care experience. Set up a regular check-in with family members, either daily or weekly, to keep everyone updated.

3. Learn and Share

Dealing with family conflicts can be challenging if those conflicts arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of dementia. As a result, individuals new to a dementia diagnosis can feel helpless, frustrated, and overwhelmed – they want to help, but they don’t know where or how to start.

By sharing valuable dementia resources with each member of your family and openly discussing questions and concerns, you can ensure that everyone remains on the same page. This makes it easier for family members to feel confident and secure in the dementia care plan. For more resources on dementia care and education, we encourage you to explore the Bella Groves Learning Center.

4. Remain Flexible

When you become a care partner to a person living with dementia, even the most carefully designed plans and routines can change. It is important to remain flexible and adapt to any changes with a positive outlook when this happens.

Over time, a person living with dementia will become more dependent. Being flexible and adapting your routine and expectations as needed can reduce frustration and stress for you and your loved one. For example, if your loved one wants to wear the same outfit every day, consider buying a few identical outfits. 

5. Remember Your Why

Although dealing with family conflicts can be uncomfortable and challenging, your primary goal is to help a person living with dementia continue to live a meaningful life full of vitality and purpose. Therefore, communication, concerns, and decisions should focus on ensuring your family member remains safe, active, and receiving the support they need to live a life of joy.

Being a dementia care partner is a role you have to embrace. While each family member has their role as spouse, sister/brother, daughter/son, etc., you are all now part of a critical team. By stepping into these new roles and remembering your purpose, you can navigate family conflicts with grace and understanding.

Helping someone living with dementia is a new experience for most people – but you don’t have to do it alone. Bella Groves offers comprehensive dementia resources for you and your family. Visit our website today to learn more about Bella Groves and how we help deliver unconditional joy to people living with dementia.


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