When we were growing up, we learned how to share both our toys and the attention of our parents with our siblings. It’s not surprising that the feelings connected with those memories can remain with us into our adult years. As wonderful and rewarding as it is to have brothers and sisters, there may be times when it increases our stress levels, such as when providing care for aging parents. And even though loving each other and considering our siblings’ feelings were impressed upon us at an early age, that old sibling rivalry can be an obstacle when decision-making and trying to fairly share caregiving duties for our aging parents.
Gregory French, president-elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, states, “What a family member considers ‘fair’ is very much dictated from that family member’s perspective…there’s a lot of family baggage that comes out, like: ‘Mom paid for your MBA, and she didn’t do that for me.’”
These suggestions, provided by our aging care experts, can help family members establish common ground and come up with a fair division of care for their aging parents:
- Enlist the help of a mediator. Bringing in a neutral professional, such as an attorney, financial planner or home care provider like Senior HomeCare of Tucson, can go a long way towards ensuring the conversation stays on track and progresses towards the best outcome.
- Think through caregiving tasks as well as financial support. Dividing up caregiving duties fairly should include a discussion about how much time each family member can contribute to providing home care assistance, as well as how much financial support can be provided. For instance, a sister who lives near your aging parents may be able to provide more in-person help while chipping in less financial support, whereas another sibling who lives at a distance may offer more financial support but less in-person care.
- Document the discussion. Make sure that everything you talk about is documented so that everyone is on the same page. This also provides the chance for you to go back and revisit what was decided upon if a conflict arises down the road.
Most importantly, bear in mind the need to set aside old childhood family dynamics when caring for aging parents, and to work cohesively together to provide the best possible care
Senior HomeCare of Tucson, the leading provider of home care assistance in Tucson and surrounding areas, is available to partner with you in caring for aging parents. Our exceptional care team can offer you the resources you need to make the best care decisions for your older loved ones, as well as reliable in-home respite care services to help you and your siblings maintain a healthy life balance. Our caregivers are available for as much or as little care as needed. Call us at 520-355-4787 to learn more.