Being a family caregiver on your own is really difficult, so having siblings to help should make things easier, right? Well, sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes sharing caregiver responsibilities with siblings makes things even more complicated. Siblings often don’t agree on how a parent should be cared for, who should do what, and how much money should be spent on care. When things go wrong, dealing with the fallout can be even more exhausting and stressful than the caregiving itself, so it’s a good idea to go into a new caregiving situation with some understanding of how family dynamics can affect being a caregiver and what you can do to make things easier.
Accept That Not Everyone Will Agree
Not everyone in the family is likely to agree with what needs to be done to care for your parent. In fact, they may not even all agree on the seriousness of the situation. It’s common for adult children to react differently from their siblings when a parent is ill. Some adult children may over-dramatize the situation and think more care is needed than really is. Other adult children may be unable to see or accept that their parent needs help.
These different reactions can be the result of differing positions in the family or differing relationships with the parent in need. For example, if your family sees you as the sensitive one who needs to be taken care of, they may be reluctant to share the details of what is going on with you. Your parent may tell the “stronger, more responsible” sibling more about how they are really doing, but tell you that they are “fine.” Or, if you’re expected to be the “responsible one,” you may find your family expecting you to take charge of the situation.
To diffuse some of the tension, allow everyone some time to get on the same page. Have a family meeting and deal with the facts. Share the information you know with one another. It may even be helpful to have a professional, such as a social worker or medical provider, evaluate your parent and attend the family meeting.
Work on Communicating
How you communicate with your siblings about caregiving responsibilities can make a big difference in the way your thoughts are received. Conversely, being open and accepting to what your siblings have to say and the fact that their experiences are different from yours can help you to really hear what they have to say, too. At some point, compromise will be involved. You will not get everything your own way, nor should your siblings have their way entirely. Though it won’t always be easy and things won’t always go well, keep communicating. Tell your siblings when you need help and what help is needed. Thank one another for being part of the team. Above all, be there for one another. Though you’re experiencing a tough situation each in your own ways, working together will make being family caregivers easier. Who knows, it may even draw you closer to one another!
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional caregiver in San Mateo, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.
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