Wednesday Workshop – Working with Your Sibling When Caring for Mom and Dad
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. Providing care for your parents can be complicated. When your brothers and sisters are also involved, caregiving can become even more complex. While your siblings can be enormously helpful and your best support, they can also be a source of stress. Watching your parents age and progress through Alzheimer’s disease is one of the hardest things in life, and everyone in the family will handle it differently.
The idea that Mom or Dad need more care, can be really scary. Some adult children still need their Mom to be the parent. Some get over-anxious and think the parent is in bigger trouble than they are. Some just can’t accept that the parents need as much help as they do. These differences are common.
Here are some ways to handle this:
• If there’s no emergency, allow some time to get everyone on the same page.
• Share information. Get a professional assessment of your parent’s condition by a doctor or geriatric care manager and send the report to all your siblings.
Here are tips for working with your siblings when caring for mom and dad:
1. Try to accept your siblings—and your parents—as they really are, not who you wish they were. All families are complicated and never perfect.
2. Ask yourself what you really want from your siblings. First of all, ask yourself whether you really want help. Many caregivers say they do, but actually refuse help. So think hard. Do you want them to do certain tasks regularly? Do you want them to give you time off once in a while? Or—and this is a big one for many caregivers—do you really not want them to do anything but you’d like more emotional support. Many caregivers feel lonely, isolated and unappreciated. If you’d like your siblings to check in on you more, ask them to call once a week.
3. Ask for help clearly and effectively. You might ask for help by saying: “Can you stay with mom every Thursday? I have to get the shopping done for the week and it gives me some time to myself.” Ask directly and be specific. Many caregivers hint or complain about the hardships of eldercare but these strategies do not work well.
Dealing with your siblings over your parents’ care can be difficult, complex and emotional. It is important to understand your own emotions at this challenging time and to try to have sympathy for your siblings’ feelings as well, even if you disagree. Ask for what you need from them directly and specifically without guilt or anger. The important thing is to be sure to get support for yourself so that you can find peace during your caregiving journey. To speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center, feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!