Aging is a fact of life and it affects every person on this planet. Caring for aging parents is often something we do not think about until the effects of aging have begun to take their toll on our loved ones and we are often unprepared to care for them as they once did for us. For some families, their parents live relatively close enough to regularly check in and ensure their well being and for others this isn’t the case.
Even in the best of circumstances, caring for your aging parents is a tough job. Whether you are the primary caregiver for your parents or your circumstances allow for you to only help out infrequently, there are often disagreements, tension and anger between you and your siblings.
There are many reasons that disagreements arise when caring for family members, but at the end of the day disagreements and tension amongst family members negatively affect those who are being looked after.
What to do When Your Siblings Don’t Help with Caring for Aging Parents
One of the most common sources of arguments and tension when caring for aging parents is caused by an imbalance of help and assistance from each sibling. Often, not all siblings contribute to the care of their parents and this leads to an imbalance in time, effort and monetary support being provided. When one or more siblings do not equally contribute an extra burden is placed on the other siblings and this added strain can degrade relationships and reduce the quality of care your parents are receiving.
The following steps can help you when dealing with siblings who don’t help with caring for aging parents:
Step 1: Set Realistic Expectations
Do not expect equal effort or contributions. It is important to have realistic expectations and no matter how well planned out, caregiving responsibilities are almost always divided unequally. Sometimes this is by design as some siblings have more time and the means to take care of their parents than other siblings, but over time this can take a toll. To prevent this from happening, families should regularly meet and discuss how they can continue to share responsibilities.
Step 2: Delegate the Jobs that Can be Completed Remotely
When dealing with siblings who live elsewhere, it can feel as if they do not contribute to the care of your parents. It’s natural for the siblings who live closest to handle the day-to-day errands and activities, but it does not mean that they have to do everything. Instead, siblings who live elsewhere can be put in charge of dealing with finances, miscellaneous paperwork and anything else that can be remote. Even though it may not seem like much, getting a sibling to handle several of these tasks will reduce the burden on other siblings.
Step 3: Communicate with your siblings as often as possible.
When siblings aren’t there to witness daily life, they often do not even know the struggle that is going on and inadvertently they may not recognize how much help is actually needed. If this is the case, do not blame them for not contributing as much as you are. Instead, keep all of your siblings up to date on all aspects of assisting your parents. By doing this you keep your siblings involved in assisting your parents and you can more easily ask them for help.
Step 4: Knowing When to Let Go
No matter how hard you try, not every sibling will assist with the responsibilities of taking care of aging parents. Even if you’ve tried hard and have appropriately reached out to them, your siblings may still make the choice to not help. If you have continuously sought out help from your siblings and it has been to no avail, then it may be time to let go and for the time being take care of your parents without their help.
It is important to remember that caring for aging parents shouldn’t be an excessive burden to bear alone. In addition to hiring a caregiver or transitioning your parents into an assisted living center, there are healthcare professionals and many resources available to assist you in ensuring your aging parents receive the best possible care.