Family Member Communication: Rational vs. Emotional

Rational vs Emotional

In the stress of sharing caregiving responsibilities and having to make important decisions, it’s helpful to be understanding of each family members way of coping with the situation of an aging loved one.

This is by no means an easy task. It is hard to take a step back and look at this type of situation objectively. Many times, that is why our clients called us in the first place. We are able to properly look at the entire situation and use our expertise, knowledge and resources to guide your entire family. 

Here are some helpful guides for identifying and working with rational or emotional family members.


This individual plots everything on a spreadsheet, cost driven, attacks the decision making process like they would buying a new car. Their demeanor can come across insensitive, aggressive and inconsiderate.

Strategies to remember:

  • Acknowledge emotions of your sibling and validate their importance along with decision making.
  • Try to tap into your own feelings and share them with your sibling to find a place of connection


This individual feels the loss more vividly, can be paralyzed by the sense of loss (perceived or anticipated). Emotional family members can put off making decisions due to denial. They may have already started the grieving process.

 Strategies to remember:

  • Recognize that decisions must be made and accept the gifts of your more rational siblings to organize information in a concise way.
  • Don’t stuff down your emotions, but instead try to deal proactively with them in a safe place with a safe person; unattended feelings may come out sideways at inopportune times.


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