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When Siblings Share Caregiving Responsibilities
PaulineB
April 28, 2024

By some twist of algorithm fate, you end up watching a video of an adult bathing, feeding, or giving their elderly parent a piggyback ride. 

It may be because it’s recorded in a forgotten corner of your search or watch history. Or maybe it just decided to offer you an idea of a reality many people deal with daily around the globe.

Parental caregiving challenges

The role of caregivers shifting from parents to children as the former reach their senior years is undeniable. The once capable and rearing parent becomes the helpless and frail individual as the toll of years of toil catches up to them. 

For those fortunate enough to have more than one caring offspring, that responsibility is usually shared and shouldered among siblings. In a way, these individuals often view it as a way of giving back to the special people who raised and guided them into adulthood. 

However, despite such gestures being borne out of love, it doesn’t come without its hardships and sacrifices. A few challenges that siblings  may face when sharing parental caregiving responsibilities for example:

·  Contrasting insights and opinions. What is the best level of care for a parent’s condition? How do you deliver it given the resources? What are the courses of action when both systemic and unexpected changes to your parents’ conditions take place?

These are only some of the questions that siblings face when deciding which routes of care to go for their parents, and conflict can arise when they have contrasting takes.

·  Unequal labor division. Sometimes, the most well-intended, sweetest conversations about taking on a responsibility can lend a sour, or at worst, bitter, feeling.

This arises when there seems to be an unequal labor distribution or when tasks previously agreed upon aren’t fulfilled. Especially when schedules don’t meet, other unexpected events happen, or when the load becomes overwhelming at times, this is challenging for the one bearing the weightier load.

Tapping the power of brotherly love

While disagreements and conflict may be unavoidable at times, there are different ways you can take to reduce conflicts into nothing but forgettable sibling spats.

·  Keep communication transparent. Providing care for aging parents is no short-term thing and requires commitment and constant honest communication from the beginning.

It’s best to first identify your parents’ caregiving needs. Then, assess what your pooled resources, time, and strength can currently provide.

In doing so, however, exercise transparency right off the bat and explain your current, and possibly, near-future situations (if yet unknown to your siblings), so you can set expectations clearly altogether.

Keep this kind of communication constant. Have meetings regularly, especially when situations change, so you can create an action plan and discuss options accordingly.

·  Extend understanding and help. When problems arise, it may be tempting to place blame, bring up past shortcomings, or remark “I told you so.” However — though it may take some practice — you’ll find that pausing, taking a deep breath, and seeking understanding is the better route to take.

Root out problems not to put anyone on the chopping block, but to discover what the cause is and what you can do to help with the situation. Along the way, you might find better solutions without producing any negative outcomes.

·  Plan ahead. As the adage advises, “Good fortune favors the prepared.” In the event that one or two things don’t push through, are there any backup plans?

What about making difficult decisions should eventualities like grave sickness arise? What do your parents prefer when their time comes? Do they wish to spend their final days in the hospital or at home?

Losing a loved one is never easy to imagine, much more face its reality. But planning ahead can help minimize the pain and discomfort for both parents and offspring alike.

As with friends, you and your siblings may not always see eye to eye on certain things. But if anyone can make things work, it’s those whom you shared a plate, a home, and almost a whole life with. Make your parents proud.

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Comments (4)
Commentator
January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
Nunc sed faucibus bibendum feugiat sed interdum. Ipsum egestas condimentum mi massa. In tincidunt pharetra consectetur sed duis facilisis metus. Etiam egestas in nec sed et. Quis lobortis at sit dictum eget nibh tortor commodo cursus.
Commentator
January 1, 2022
Nunc sed faucibus bibendum feugiat sed interdum. Ipsum egestas condimentum mi massa. In tincidunt pharetra consectetur sed duis facilisis metus. Etiam egestas in nec sed et. Quis lobortis at sit dictum eget nibh tortor commodo cursus.
Commentator
January 1, 2022
Nunc sed faucibus bibendum feugiat sed interdum. Ipsum egestas condimentum mi massa. In tincidunt pharetra consectetur sed duis facilisis metus. Etiam egestas in nec sed et. Quis lobortis at sit dictum eget nibh tortor commodo cursus.
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