Taking on the new responsibilities that come with caring for an aging parent or parents can be difficult. This is especially true when you share this caregiving role with siblings. While it can be nice to have others with whom to share the load and who understand what you are going through, siblings working together to care for parents can encounter complications too.
Whether you and your siblings have a relatively healthy or strained relationship, the pressure of caring for your elderly parents can cause friction, disagreements, and resentment. There will be many big decisions to be made, shifts in your own lives to accommodate changes, and a lot of emotions throughout this time. You may feel differently about what should be done, one sibling may feel that they are taking on more of a burden, or another may feel that they are being left out of the important conversations.
The last thing you want is fighting or even a break in the family as you are trying to help your aging loved ones. Make sure to make time to collaborate and strengthen your sibling relationship so you can be a caretaking team to support your family together.
Collaborate on a care plan.
Preferably you can work on this step together while your parent, or parents, are still able to participate and share their input on what they want for their future. Put this in writing and make sure that everyone in your family who is involved in the care plan has access to it.
Schedule regular check-ins.
This gives everyone an opportunity to get updates on the care plan and how your parents are doing, so that everyone is on the same page and can be involved. This can be any combination of types of communication such as regular email updates or phone and video calls.
Make an effort to be involved.
Consider making a schedule on a weekly or monthly basis so you can balance the time and responsibilities between siblings. Use a shared digital calendar where everyone has access and can easily see or share updates
Be open and communicate your thoughts and feelings.
Having a parent who needs care usually leads to a lot of complicated emotions. These can build up and lead to arguments, disagreements, resentment, and more. Find a way to voice concerns or communicate your feelings in a collaborative, safe way and deal with them together before it becomes an issue.
Consider working with a family counselor or care manager.
If your family already has tension or a strained relationship, or you feel that you would benefit from an outside, neutral party, there are both family counselors and care managers who have experience and expertise in dealing with this family dynamic.
CJ & Associates Care Consulting can support you and your family as you support each other. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you care for your elderly loved ones.