How Siblings Can Share the Load of Caregiving

Author: Christine Browning

Having an ailing parent is always tough, but things can be even more challenging when there are multiple siblings involved wondering who does what in the care plan. If you are a caretaker for your mom or dad and you have siblings who also want to help, this article will help you!

How Do You Divide the Workload or Care Plan?

1. Communicate with your siblings along the way
It’s always best to come up with a plan and talk openly BEFORE a health crisis happens. If your parents are aging in place and desire to stay that way, you and your siblings should begin communicating about how this will look in the long-term. Start off with a meeting amongst the siblings and talk about what each person can and would be willing to do. It’s best to do this in person if at all possible. The main goal is to create a united front, so everyone is on the same page when it comes time to manage care.

2. Consider the needs of your parents
Everyone needs to be careful to not let your parents’ desires get lost in the shuffle as the siblings juggle responsibilities. The fact is, your senior parents will be facing a difficult transition and that can be a scary and uncertain time for them. What they need most is to know they have a family who will always put parental needs ahead of their own. Here again, it’s good for all siblings to talk so that they can compare notes.

3. Involve your parents in the decisions
Include your parents in these very important conversations so that they feel like their voice is heard. If you feel that a senior parent won’t be receptive to your ideas, it may be helpful to have a meeting with their doctor or another trusted friend present. Most seniors will be cooperative as long as they know their best interest is utmost in everyone’s mind.

4. Sharing the workload
Once you have outlined what the most important daily needs are, put your care plan into place by allowing each sibling to help with a task that fits them best. You may need to rotate these responsibilities as you go along. This would include things such as driving to appointments, prepping meals, managing medications, and making sure they get out to have a social life.

If there are grandchildren, don’t forget to let them in on the plan too! They may be old enough to help out even in small ways. Older grandkids might be able to drive your parents to church or other things and could also help run errands. Smaller grandkids could just spend time talking and hanging out with their grandparents! Never underestimate how special these times will be in creating memories in the grandchildren!

5. Plan to communicate often
Even if it’s for a short time, it’s important that all the siblings communicate frequently via video chat or phone call. These times will allow all of you to compare notes, mention things they have observed, and talk through concerns. Keeping honest and open communication can be the best way to preserve those relationships and avoid misunderstandings! This too will bring peace to your parents.

6. Support each other in the caregiving
Be a support to each other as siblings! No one understands what it’s like to care for senior parents like their children. And most aging parents want nothing more than for their adult children to walk in unity and peace with one another. No parent wants to think that caring for them has caused the children to feel burdened. The biggest tip here is to give your siblings space to do things differently than you might.

7. Remain flexible
Things happen! Even when the unexpected arises, make sure that you are willing to stay flexible, so the job still gets done. Perhaps one sibling is in bed sick, or another needs a vacation with their own family. Whatever the case, do all you can to be mindful of these changes as they arise and remain open and flexible. The needs of your parents may also change on the fly, and that too will require flexibility.

8. Understand that caregiving will never be something you can divide equally
There may be times when all your siblings may not participate willingly. If this is the case, be ready to step up to the plate and perhaps another family friend could step in to help out. Even if you have siblings who aren’t able or willing to share the load of caregiving, there are usually many friends or family members who would love to help if only they were asked!

For more information on how siblings can share the load of caregiving, please contact us today!

Home Helpers of Barrington is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including 24 hour care, live-in care, home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in Barrington, Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Wauconda, Fox River Grove, Hawthorn Woods, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, Inverness, Carpentersville, Kildeer, Cary, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Prospect Heights, Grayslake, and Long Grove, Illinois.

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