Caring for an aging parent is never easy. No matter how many children your senior parents have, chances are one sibling takes on the majority of the caregiving responsibilities. This can happen for various reasons, but the outcomes are often the same: family disputes and sibling arguments.
You and your siblings can learn to navigate caring for your elderly parents without constant fighting. Follow this guide to learn new tips and tricks for managing the care of your aging parents with your siblings.
Why One Sibling Usually Does Most of the Work
Often, the sibling who cares for your parents most of the time lives closest to them. This proximity automatically puts the responsibility on them since other siblings have jobs, families, and other commitments that make it difficult to travel.
Maybe one sibling has more financial and emotional bandwidth to support your aging parents. In these cases, it only makes sense that this sibling takes on the caregiving duties your parents need to survive and thrive.
However, none of this means that the primary caregiver sibling loves your parents more. It simply means that the caregiving balance is temporarily skewed in their direction. You can learn to navigate these challenges using these tips for balancing caregiving duties and avoiding sibling conflicts.
1. Involve Everyone in Big Decisions About Care
Primary caregivers often resent having to make all of the big decisions on their own. Instead of letting the burden of all the important decisions fall on the primary caregiver sibling, allow everyone to participate in meaningful discussions.
For example, if your family is considering moving your parents to assisted living, host a family meeting and talk about it with each of your siblings. Everyone’s opinion matters when it comes to your parents’ long-term care. Your siblings might bring new perspectives to the table that you haven’t thought about yet.
Open communication is key when it comes to avoiding family disputes. Make sure you practice active listening and make each sibling feel heard and understood during these discussions.
2. Divide Tasks According to Each Sibling’s Strengths
No matter how similar your upbringing was, you’re bound to have different strengths and weaknesses than your other siblings. This can be a good thing when it comes to taking care of your elderly parents!
Do you have a sibling who works in finance and does well with crunching numbers? That sibling can take over your parents’ financial management. Are two of your siblings better at emotional labor? They can help provide company to your parents and lend a listening ear whenever other siblings need it.
You don’t have to do everything on your own. Find out what each sibling does best and divide caregiving tasks accordingly. There are several ways to accomplish this, and by taking advantage of each of your sibling’s strengths, you can all avoid resentment and burnout.
3. Set Boundaries and Clear Expectations With Your Siblings
As the primary caregiver for your parents, you probably have a hard time setting and sticking to boundaries. That’s understandable. When you care for family members, it’s easy to give more of yourself away than you intend to. However, clear and consistent boundaries are essential when it comes to managing sibling relationships.
Let your siblings know exactly what you are and aren’t willing to do on any given day. Make sure they know your limits so you can ask for help and recharge when you need to. Setting boundaries is an act of self-love that you deserve as a caregiver.
4. Consider In-Home Senior Care to Ease the Burden
In-home care can be a lifesaver for many caregivers of aging parents. When you have hired help, you don’t have to manage everything alone. This will free up personal time to engage with your siblings outside of the context of your parents’ care, which is sure to improve your family relationships.
In-home caregivers are trained professionals who know how to best serve your parents and meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help when you need it. Your mental well-being and relationships with your siblings matter, too!
Learn to Avoid Resentment Between Siblings as the Primary Caregiver
By following these tips, you can help avoid burnout and other common emotional problems associated with being a primary caregiver. You and your siblings can start to work on forming positive relationships with one another again. Don’t forget to take time for yourself — you deserve it!
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.