Overcoming Sibling Rivalry While Caring for Aging Parents

Siblings having a discussion about caregiving

Adult siblings having a discussion about caring for their aging parents.

From sharing toys to sharing your parents’ attention, siblinghood can often be fraught with tension, and when you throw in caring for aging parents, those tensions can increase. While loving each other and considering your brother’s or sister’s feelings was impressed upon you at an early age, sibling rivalry can still be a hurdle when making challenging decisions and attempting to fairly divide caregiving requirements for aging parents.

Gregory French, president-elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, states that, “What a family member considers ‘fair’ is very much dictated from that family member’s perspective…there’s a lot of family baggage that comes out, like: ‘Mom paid for your MBA, and she didn’t do that for me.’”

The following tips can help individuals and their families find common ground and determine the most reasonable division of care for a senior loved one:

  • Consult a mediator.Sitting down with a reputable third party professional, like an attorney, financial planner or Walnut Creek home care provider such as Hillendale, can go a long way towards keeping the discussion on track and moving forward to the very best resolution.
  • Consider hands-on caregiving vs. financial support. Dividing up caregiving duties reasonably should incorporate a discussion on how much time each sibling can dedicate to supplying home care assistance, as well as how much financial care can be supplied. For example, a sister who lives close to the parent might provide more in-person care but lower financial support, while a sibling who resides in another state might be able to offer financial support but not in-person care.
  • Document the conversation.Getting everything documented ensures that everyone is on the same page, and allows for the possibility to go back and evaluate what was agreed upon later if a dispute should develop.

For more information about empowering family caregivers, click here.

The most important thing to remember when caring for aging parents is to agree to set aside old childhood dynamics in an effort to come together to provide the highest quality of care possible.

Hillendale Home Care’s highly-trained Walnut Creek home care team is happy to partner with you as you and your siblings begin caring for your aging parents. Our professional staff can provide you with the senior care resources you need to ensure that you make the best care decisions for your loved ones, as well as in-home respite care services to help you get the rest you need. Our dedicated caregivers will make sure your family receives the very best care. Contact us at 925-933-8181 to learn more.