If you are providing care for aging parents and have taken on more responsibility than your siblings, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. As the holidays approach, you may feel an added layer of stress when considering the extra responsibilities and outings on your plate.
Providing care for aging parents without much support from siblings is exhausting, can lead to a host of health issues, and can strain relationships. If most of the caregiving responsibilities have fallen on your shoulders, it’s also easy to feel resentful and to wonder why your siblings don’t offer more support. This holiday season, Abrio Home Care recommends taking advantage of the time with your siblings to ask for help. If your siblings make excuses about why they aren’t helping more with care, use the following strategies to overcome their resistance.
What are common excuses siblings make to avoid caregiving responsibilities?
- They aren’t sure how to help. For some siblings, even if they’re willing to lend a helping hand in caring for aging parents, they may not know where their help is needed most. For these siblings, making a direct request is an effective way to get them to participate in caregiving responsibilities. For example, make a list of doctors’ appointments in the first few months of the new year and ask a sibling to be responsible for driving Mom or Dad to each appointment and reporting back on the details from the visits.
- They didn’t realize you needed help. It may be hard to believe because your day-to-day is filled with caregiving responsibilities, but from the outside, it may look as though you have everything under control. For siblings who aren’t involved in the daily care of an older parent, they may have no real concept of how much time and energy is needed to care for a loved one. An effective way to help a sibling understand the amount of work required is to get them involved in day-to-day tasks. Ask for help with a specific activity – maybe you’ve been trying to work with the insurance company on a disputed claim or perhaps Mom needs transportation to weekly religious services. This may not change your siblings’ mind immediately, but the more they are involved in the everyday aspects of caregiving, the more they will understand how much time and energy is required in caring for older parents.
- Your siblings are afraid of doing a bad job. Caring for older parents is a herculean task, and from experience, you know that it’s an ongoing learning process. Encourage siblings who may be nervous about caregiving to take their time learning the ropes, and reassure them that it’s normal to make mistakes. Sometimes, the process of learning how to best care for Mom and Dad is most effective when you model a particular caregiving skill. For example, ask a sibling to join you for dinner and talk through the ways you’re helping your parents – “I’m going to omit cheese from this recipe because of Mom’s high cholesterol,” or “Help me encourage Dad to drink plenty of water with his meal so that he doesn’t get dehydrated.”
When sharing caregiving responsibilities with siblings, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone may always agree on Mom’s and Dad’s needs or how to fulfill them. Disagreements are normal and it’s important to remember that you and your siblings share a common goal of helping your parents maintain their health and wellbeing throughout the aging process. Remember to take a breath as disagreements surface, and focus on understanding each other’s opinions as opposed to arguing against them.
How can professional senior care help?
To help you and your siblings provide better care for aging parents and to ensure no one person feels overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities, a good option is to partner with a professional home care agency like Abrio Home Care.
As a top provider of elder care in Mesa and nearby areas, our trusted and knowledgeable caregivers can help with a variety of day-to-day care needs to ensure family caregivers have the time needed to attend to their own health and wellbeing. With our respite and home care services, we offer friendly companionship, accompanied transportation to medical appointments, assistance with planning and preparing nutritious meals, and so much more.