As if caring for aging parents isn’t already challenging enough, another issue children of elderly parents face is managing caregiving with siblings. Not only does this stress out the family, but the elderly parents could also get frustrated over all the heated arguments and tension in the air during family gatherings. Here are a few ideas of how you could manage sibling disputes over an elderly parent’s care.
Have Realistic Expectations for All Caregivers
Communication is important for a group of individuals who are managing their elderly parent’s lifestyle. This is especially important if a sibling lives further away than the parent as compared to the rest of the siblings, as arguments or misunderstandings are more prone to arise from this situation. Since the amount a caregiver can assist in their parent’s daily life depends on their proximity to the parent, caregiving responsibilities are almost always divided unequally. Naturally, one or two would take on the responsibilities of driving their parent to a doctor’s appointment or grocery store more. The long-distance siblings should help out whenever it is possible, but if this arrangement is taking a toll on the nearby siblings, it should always be voiced out. There are other ways that long-distance siblings could help – completing important paperwork, contributing more financially, or keeping their parent’s company through online calls.
Take Advantage of Each Person’s Strengths
Sometimes, a sibling or two don’t contribute enough not because they don’t want to. Perhaps it could be because they are just not good at dealing with finances, legal paperwork, or navigating the healthcare system for their parents. Having an honest conversation and recognizing what each person can contribute best according to their skills and knowledge could significantly improve the dynamics of this caregiving arrangement. However, this is not to say that one is allowed to back out of all responsibilities if they feel like they aren’t able to do anything properly. If you have a sibling like that, it is important to share any resources they may need and to let them know they aren’t alone in this journey.
Get an Expert Assessment if Siblings Disagree on the Amount of Care Needed
Adults siblings don’t always view caregiving needs the same way. While one may have the impression that their elderly parent is doing just fine at home, another may feel like extra help could improve their day-to-day living significantly. This is common for siblings who spend different amounts of time with their parent. A third-person or outside opinion often easily resolves such issues. Clarification from a healthcare professional or geriatric care manager could prevent any more sibling disputes over an elderly parent’s care.
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