Are you the only one in the family taking care of your aging parent? If this is so, things must be difficult for you. You are probably thinking how easy things could be if you had some support from your siblings. You may even be feeling a bit resentful that your siblings arent helping you out.
Studies show, however, that conflict may arise when siblings share the responsibility of caring for their elderly parent. Siblings may differ in ideas, approach, and style. They may often disagree about what is best for the parent. So, there is a possibility that you will end up arguing and bickering with your siblings, thus putting more strain in your relationship.
But in spite of the difficulties, your siblings are your best source for help and support. The family will just have to learn how to effectively handle the dynamics, cope with emotions, keep communication lines open, and learn to work effectively, productively, and peacefully with one another. Each member will have to realize that the parents welfare is the most important thing here. Each sibling will have to appreciate the fact that everybody wants the parent to receive the best care possible. When all siblings realize that they all have the same goal, they are likely to be more open to discuss options for living arrangements more amicably and productively.
Effective communication is vital when you have to work through differences with your siblings. Deciding on and setting up the best care plan for your parent is not easy. There are many things to clarify and discuss and conflicting opinions to work out. You need to have a series of family meetings to reach a workable decision that is acceptable to everybody. So the question is: How do you achieve effective communication with your siblings?
You have to lay down an agenda and stick to it. Each one has to recognize that the here and now is what is important. Bringing up unrelated issues or the past may not be helpful to the problem at hand. When you want to share how you feel, it is best to underscore that these are simply your feelings; you are not accusing or blaming anybody for them.
Each one who has an idea or opinion to share must be given the chance to speak. Everybody should learn and know how to listen effectively and respect other peoples views. It is important that everybody is also ready to compromise when needed and undertake new solutions. Again, you must all keep in mind that your parents well-being is your utmost priority.
It is imperative that everybody knows about your parents condition. It is best to have a geriatric specialist write out a professional evaluation a report that all siblings should have a copy of. Communication with your siblings should continue through email, text messages, or conference calls, especially if there are new developments regarding your parents care needs and issues. You should make sure to touch base with one another regularly so that everyone is aware and in the loop.
Be frank in discussing financial issues. Should you decide on home care for your parent? Should you put her in a retirement home or nursing facility? Should you get nursing help for her? What senior community should you put her in? The answers to these questions depend heavily on available financial resources. How can each sibling help? How much financial support can one give? It is important to be honest and straightforward in discussing all these sensitive issues.
Try to involve your parent in the decisions. Give her the assurance that her preferences are of principal importance to everybody. Make her feel that she has a say in the options that the family will decide on. Make her feel secure about the familys support and concern for her well-being and happiness.
Caring for an elderly parent is a responsibility that siblings should share with one another. Everybody should take steps to promote positive communication and give support to one another. It is challenging to provide care for an elderly parent. But when everyone in the family participates in the job in the spirit of love and support, it becomes a rewarding and fulfilling mission one which fosters greater love and support for the entire family.