When you have an aging parent who needs regular care, it's natural that one sibling will step up to be the primary caregiver. You're the one who is most readily available, whether it's a matter of geographic convenience or a more flexible schedule. That responsibility, however, feels like it's shredding your relationship with your siblings. If you're struggling to restore those relationships, some of these tips may help.
Share the Responsibility
The responsibility for caring for an aging parent should never rest on one sibling's shoulders alone. To some extent, the financial burden, time, and energy required to care for your loved one should be shared between you.
Discuss the Plan for Care
Chances are, each of you has different expectations of what your parent's care will look like. Since you're the one going to appointments and spending the most time with your parent, you're also the one with the most realistic picture of their needs. Sit down and have a serious discussion with your siblings about what a care plan for your parent really looks like. Update them whenever there is a change in your parent's health or mental status so that you're all able to stay on the same page.
Share Your Needs
When you first dive in to a family caregiving responsibility, you may have no idea what you're getting into. Chances are, your siblings don't, either! If you find yourself sitting at home fuming because your sister and her husband have gone out for the third Friday night in a row while you and your spouse are stuck at home or sweating over how to pay a medical bill while your brother jets off on yet another vacation, sit down and talk it out with your siblings instead of being resentful. They can't know how to help if they don't know what you need!
Accept Their Input
As the primary caregiver, it's easy to develop an attitude of, "What I say goes." After all, you're the one who has to live with the results of those decisions! Listen to what your siblings have to say anyway. Try to find compromises. When they have strong opinions, be willing to allow those opinions to sway you, especially if it's over the minor details. Keeping your siblings involved is the best way to facilitate continuing relationships.
Caring for an aging family member shouldn't be a dividing force that comes between you and your siblings. Stress and worry, however, can make things difficult for even the most dedicated siblings. If you're looking for more ways to improve your relationships with your siblings while handling family caregiving responsibilities, contact a Caring team near you today.