Caregiving: Avoiding Sibling Conflicts


Caregiving: Avoiding Sibling Conflicts

By adulthood, most sibling relationships have developed into unbreakable friendships that are as substantial as they are fulfilling.

Still, many people have the tendency to revert to childhood rivalries and pettiness when it comes to the care needs of aging parents. Quibbles surrounding money–your parents’ finances and their caregiving expenses, specifically–are most common. Conflicts are also common regarding family possessions, your parents’ continued independence (or lack thereof), and medical decisions.

In other situations, as AARP’s Sally Abrams points out, caregiving may be very one-sided, with one sibling begrudgingly taking on more than his or her fair share of responsibilities.

In these situations, it’s important to take a step back and seriously analyze the problem at hand. Abrams recommends asking your the following questions when (and before) things start to get sticky:

What do your parents want? While they’re still in good health, ask your parents what they expect to happen when they need regular care. Are they being realistic? Are there any aspects they aren’t addressing (i.e., the specific needs of a chronic condition)?

Do you agree with what your parents want? If so, great. If not, what are you willing to do to work something out that will satisfy them? This could mean hiring a home health care provider, or finding another solution to give the entire family reassurance that your parents are okay.

Set up a family meeting to discuss each family member’s role in caregiving, from finances, to day-to-day care, to long-distance caregiving. A meeting in-person is best.

What are your and your siblings’ strengths? Are you tech savvy, while your sibling is better at hands-on activities? Find out who’s best at what to help map out your parents’ care plan.

Who will be the primary caregiver? The primary caregiver means the person who is going to be there at your parents’ side day-by-day. This person is also the primary contact for the rest of the family. Once you determine who the primary caregiver will be, make sure that the other siblings are doing what they can to take any pressure off of him or her.

Are your sibling’s perspectives valid? When a disagreement arises, listen to your sibling and why they feel the way they do.

What kind of relationship do you want with your sibling? Ill will and bad communication can destroy once-strong family relationships. Is that what you really want? Chances are, probably not, so always be delicate in these sorts of situations.

Coming to terms with an aging loved one’s health problems is a difficult and often emotionally-taxing experience. When this experience is shared with siblings and other close family, you won’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to financial matters or your parents’ day-to-day care needs.

You have to remember: family is family, so doing a little bit of prep work before things get crazy can go a long way towards ensuring that everyone is content with their role. And of course, help and advice is always available through a senior care provider such as Encompass Senior Solutions.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!


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