Alzheimer's: Dealing with family conflict

Alzheimer's disease can cause stress for families. Work through family conflicts together so that you can focus on what's important.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the effects on the family can be overwhelming. The reality that someone you care for has Alzheimer's can trigger a range of emotions — including anger, fear, frustration and sadness. Conflicts are common as family members struggle to deal with the changes.

To minimize conflict, address the issues together.

Share responsibility

When figuring out how you're loved one will be cared for, consider each family member's preferences, resources and abilities.

Some might provide hands-on care, either in their own homes or in your loved one's home. Others might be more comfortable with respite care, household chores or errands. You and your family might also choose someone to handle financial or legal issues.

Meet regularly

To stay on top of your loved one's care, plan regular family meetings. Include everyone who's part of the caregiving team, including family friends and other close contacts. You might also share email updates with the entire family, or send updates through social media resources.

During family meetings, discuss each person's caregiving responsibilities and challenges — and make changes as needed. Be open to compromise and possibilities you hadn't considered on your own.

If your family meetings tend to turn into arguments, consider asking a counselor, social worker, mediator or other professional to moderate.

Sept. 05, 2015 See more In-depth