Caring for an ailing parent can be difficult when you’re on your own. The emotional difficulties of caregiving are compounded when you have siblings who aren’t pitching in, and it can easily breed resentment. Family squabbles won’t make your parent’s health situation any better, so it’s essential to find resolutions to these conflicts. Here are five ways to address unhelpful siblings.
1. Find Practical Solutions to Obstacles
It’s rare for siblings to split the caregiving workload equally. The realities of life always intrude. One sibling lives across the country, another sibling works 60 hours a week, and the sibling who lives closest to mom and dad ends up shouldering most of the burden. Primary caregivers shouldn’t expect their siblings to reorganize their lives, but obstacles like distance and hectic lifestyles aren’t insuperable. When asking siblings to help, don’t focus on what they can’t do. Instead, provide them with specific tasks you know they can accomplish. If your brother lives across the country, ask him to pay for a visit from an in-home caregiver once a week. If your sister’s job keeps her too busy, ask her to use her organizational skills to create a Google Calendar of your parent’s upcoming appointments.
It’s necessary for family caregivers to take some time off from their caregiving duties. If your siblings can’t take on some of your responsibilities, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In Birmingham, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.
2. Overcome Family Dynamics
Many families retain the dynamics forged during childhood. Siblings get labeled “the responsible one” or “the funny one,” and these roles often persist into adulthood, impacting the way siblings relate to one another. When it comes time to care for an ailing parent, it’s time to put these old roles aside. Now is the time to work together to provide the best care for your parent, and falling into old habits can distract from the task at hand.
3. Try to Put Emotions Aside
Realizing a parent needs care can be an emotional experience. When discussing caregiving options with your siblings, try to keep your emotions at bay. Offer matter-of-fact assessments of the situation, and avoid dredging up old family history. Make sure the conversation always revolves around actionable solutions to your parent’s situation rather than complaints, criticisms, or gripes.
While caring for an older parent can be emotionally challenging, it’s important to understand his or her needs. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Birmingham families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
4. Ask for Help the Right Way
If you aren’t receiving adequate support from your siblings, anger is a natural response. When you’re asking for help, try to keep your frustration at bay. Your siblings will be able to detect your frustration, and this can turn into a fruitless cycle of guilt and anger. If you don’t think you can remain unemotional over the phone, send your siblings a simple, direct email that gives them specific tasks to perform.
5. Find Additional Support
If you simply can’t get your siblings to do their fair share of work, it’s important to know when to cut your losses. Caregivers have busy schedules, and at a certain point, asking unresponsive siblings for help becomes a waste of time. Instead of holding out hope for help that may never come, work on building a support network of your own. Reach out to local caregiver support groups, your friends, and organizations like churches and nonprofits. When siblings aren’t giving you the support you need, don’t be afraid to look outside the family to find aid.
If your siblings aren’t able to help with your parent’s care, consider the assistance of an in-home caregiver. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated home care, Birmingham, AL, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call us at (205) 438-6927 today.