Are you struggling to support an aging parent, with or without your sibling's support?
Maybe you haven't spoken to your siblings for some time because you feel they don't support YOU to care for your Parents?
From my experience working with families, this is a common roadblock and a source of pain for a lot of people.
So how can you decrease the struggle you may be experiencing with your siblings?
First, you need to understand why the situation is so tense and emotionally charged to begin with. There is no instruction manual on how to care for an aging parent and it can be a time of uncertainty with their precarious health and ongoing safety concerns, especially at this challenging time with the added threat of COVID-19.
It is difficult to see our parents declining and it can raise A LOT of different emotions in you and your siblings; you may feel sad or scared and your brother or sister may be angry or in denial.
It can stir up old feelings and childhood differences between yourself and your siblings. Previous rivalries and childhood competitions; the need for love approval and to be in charge can resurface, making the idea of working “together” seem almost impossible!
You and your siblings may need to reconsider the role each of you have as you support your aging parents. Often times, this has not been discussed in advance and many assumptions are made. It is often assumed that the child living closest to the parent will assume the role of caregiver OR that if one sibling is now retired, then they should do everything. It’s often assumed that the son will manage the finances and that the daughter will do personal care tasks. But these assumptions don’t distribute the responsibilities fairly and are not necessarily in line with what each person's capabilities are. This can cause resentment to surface and that is not productive when trying to support Mom and Dad.
It’s often hard for everyone to agree on what is best for Mom and Dad and what they even need for support. This may be because of the how each child is processing their decline, that fear, anger, sadness or denial. It may be they still need and want your parents to “Parent Them” or they feel a need to protect and please Mom and Dad and not want anything bad to happen to them.
This can be a difficult time for siblings, when they are expected to “rally” and come together for the good of their aging parents, but it is not without challenges. If ever there was a better time to connect, it is now. I encourage you to reach out and connect with your siblings and have these difficult conversations.
If you are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed by your Caregiving responsibilities, on top of everything else, I am available to safely talk via phone or video call during this time of social distancing.
To learn more about support available for family caregivers, join our FREE Facebook Community, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/theicarecommunity/
Invite your brother or sister to join!!
Until then, stay positive, stay connected, stay home and stay safe…
Updated: May 6, 2019
Asking for and receiving help was a BIG topic this week in the Health at Home group, the ICare Community. Curious about this and other topics we cover?
Find us/join us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theicarecommunity/
Some caregivers felt they were fortunate to have a circle of support; people they could ask to help AND who offered to help. They were others though, who were not experiencing this. They felt they had NO ONE they could turn to for help and that NO ONE offered their assistance!
Let’s face it, some family members are not in a position to help. They may simply live too far away to help out with the day to day activities (although I challenge long distance family members to get creative too and find ways to support your family from afar 😊)
Yet there are other family members who live close by but remain “checked out” and cannot or will not engage in supporting your family members. This is a BIG pill to swallow…but swallow we must! You cannot force someone to care for someone or to assume any of your day to day duties- they have to come to it willingly.
So, if they can’t participate due to distance OR they won’t participate for their own personal reasons, who can you turn to?
One thing I do know, and I say this often, “Caring for someone at home, is NOT something you do alone”.
As the “Team Leader” you need to build your Care Team around you and your loved one. This may…or may not… include family members.
1-Family members: They need to identify themselves what they are good at and how they can contribute.
2-Volunteers, such as Friends, Neighbors, Hospice volunteers, Church or service groups that you or your loved one once belonged to
3-Care Staff like Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, In Home Support Workers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, Pharmacist and professionals like me, who serve as a Care Navigator!
4-Community Programs and Services that include Mobile practitioners, i.e. hairdresser, footcare, barber, esthetics, Meals, Delivery services, and Equipment vendors
5-Clergy or spiritual advisors and other practitioners who offer complimentary care such as Imagery, Aromatherapy and Massage. Even your Pets can contribute to the Care Team with their unconditional love!
6-Support Groups in your local community or on line, such as the ICare Community can be a great source of support!
If you need help and support to build your Care team, don’t delay…reach out today.
And remember this: Caring for someone at home, is not something you do alone!