Caring for your aging parents can be touching, but it can also be an overwhelming and stressful situation, but when you include sibling rivalry into the mix, the situation can become extremely emotional and physically draining. When adult siblings become aware of the fact that their parents aren’t “themselves” and they need help, it’s common for the old roles and the competitiveness of siblings to resurface. The good news is when your parents care is put on the front burner, it is possible for relationships between siblings to become stronger, more respectful, and have more caring relationships. Here are a few tips to help reduce sibling rivalry when it comes to caregiving for your parents.
Learn to Communicate
One of the most common complaints from siblings is that they weren’t informed of decisions that were being made or they weren’t aware of their parent’s medical condition. The best way to avoid conflict is by deciding ahead of time when you will update each other and how often updates will be made as well as what decisions should be made by the sibling “on duty” and what decisions should be made as a group. The situation will be much less stressful if you and your siblings all know what their responsibilities are and the parameters for decision making in advance. The way you choose to communicate is up to each of you, but it’s often best to use some type of documentation for updates. For instance, you can download and email each sibling a family medical file or create a binder that includes all medical information, contact information, and the role each of you plays.
Everyone Has a Job
Even if you struggle to get along, working together is critical. The best way to get things done is by working together, dividing all necessary tasks, and take the steps necessary to avoid conflict and tension. The easiest solution is to have everyone together, at the same time, and make a list of everything that needs to be done and then decide among all of you what tasks each of you can manage. The list should include scheduling transportation, making medical appointments, and housekeeping, paying bills, grocery shopping, and personal care. Remember to include even the small tasks on your list; something as simple as loading the dishwasher can be easily overlooked and may lead to arguments, so include everything on your task list.
Ask for Emotional Support
Caregivers, even siblings who aren’t on the best of terms can feel lonely, unappreciated, and isolated. One of the most beneficial things you can do as caregivers for your parents is to learn to rely on siblings for and give your siblings emotional support. Don’t be afraid to ask them to check in on you and each other, and be sure to say thank you when they tell you you’re doing a good job and don’t forget to tell them they are also doing a good job. The less you criticize each other, the more likely you will all come together and do what’s best for your parents and your parents will recognize your efforts, which will put them at ease, even if they aren’t able to verbally express this to you.
When it comes to reducing sibling rivalry and caregiving for your parents, one of the most important things that families must recognize is the need for outside help. Families typically have complicated histories and during this emotional time, communication with each may be difficult without overreacting or misinterpreting what your siblings are saying. But, when it comes to your parents getting the care they deserve, it is critical that you all recognize when you need additional help. Even if all of you have been diligent in doing your assigned tasks, there may be a time when you all need a break. Getting help from a home health care provider allows you and your siblings to step away, even if it’s only for an hour, regroup and come together to ensure your parents are getting the best care you can provide.
To learn more information about how in-home caregivers can help you and your siblings provide care for your elderly parents, contact 1st Meridian Care Services.