How to Work Together with Siblings to Provide the Best Care for Aging Parents

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When we were growing up, we were taught to share our toys as well as the attention of our parents, and we tend to maintain these lessons and the feelings that go along with them into the adult years. While having brothers and sisters is certainly rewarding and fulfilling, there can also be times when it can also create additional challenges during times of stress, such as when working together to care for aging parents. 

In fact, that sense of rivalry established during childhood can create a barrier to fair, unbiased decision-making. It can lead to hurt feelings, pitting one sibling against another, and difficulty with resolving conflict – all of which can interfere with the level of care older family members receive. 

Gregory French, president-elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, explains that, “What a family member considers ‘fair’ is very much dictated from that family member’s perspective…there’s a lot of family baggage that comes out, like: ‘Mom paid for your MBA, and she didn’t do that for me.’”

In order to overcome the hurdles inherent with caring for aging parents with your siblings, try these recommendations to ensure everyone is on the same page and to come up with the best way to divvy up care:

  • Engage the help of a mediator. An objective third party professional, such as a lawyer, financial planner, or home care provider, can assist with keeping conversations on track and working towards the ideal resolutions.
  • Compare hands-on care with financial support. Splitting up caregiving duties in the most fair way should include a discussion regarding the amount of time each sibling can devote to providing hands-on care in comparison with how much financial help can be provided. For instance, a sibling who is living in close proximity to your aging parents might be able to provide more in-person care, while another sibling who lives far away could pitch in more financial support.
  • Take good notes. Documenting everything that was discussed and agreed upon is a great way to allow you to go back and revisit issues that may resurface later. Make a copy for each sibling, and bring these notes with you to subsequent meetings. 

While it’s not easy to set aside difficult family dynamics, keep in mind that you all share the same end goal: making life the very best it can be for your elderly parents. 

At Stay Home Care, we’re here to offer skilled, compassionate in-home care that eases stress and provides peace of mind to families throughout Nashville and surrounding areas. You can reach us any time at 615-527-8407 to learn more.

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