How Sibling Rivalry May Impact Caring for Older Parents

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Discover tips on how to navigate sibling relationships when determining how best to care for Mom.

When we were growing up, we learned how to share toys and games as well as the attention of our parents, and these same feelings tend to carry us well into our adult years. As gratifying as it is to have brothers and sisters, there are undoubtedly times it can contribute to increased stress levels, such as when caring for aging parents. While loving each other and considering your siblings’ feelings was ingrained in you at an early age, a sense of sibling rivalry can still be an obstacle when considering complicated decisions and making an attempt to equitably share caregiving needs 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.’”

These suggestions, courtesy of the Milwaukee in-home care professionals at Stowell Associates, can help siblings find common ground and discover the most reasonable division of care for their loved one:

  • Seek help from a mediator. Working with a trusted third party professional, like an attorney, financial planner or in-home care provider like Stowell Associates, can significantly help in keeping the discussion on track and moving towards the ideal resolution.
  • Consider hands-on caregiving versus financial support. Dividing up caregiving duties fairly should include a dialogue about how much time each sibling can commit to providing home care help, in addition to how much financial support can be provided. For instance, a brother who lives in close proximity to the parent might be able to handle more in-person care but less financial support, while another sibling who lives across the country may offer more financial support but less in-person care.
  • Record the discussion. Making sure everything discussed is recorded ensures that everyone is on the same page, and provides the opportunity to go back and revisit what was agreed upon in the future if a conflict should develop.

The most important thing to keep in mind when caring for aging parents is to agree to set aside previous childhood dynamics in an attempt to come together to provide the highest level of care possible.

Stowell Associates, top providers of the Milwaukee senior care families trust, is here to partner with you in your journey in caring for aging parents. Our expert care managers can provide you with the senior care resources you need to help 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 caregivers will make sure your family always has access to the very best care. Contact us online or call 414.963.2600 in Milwaukee or at 262.521.3016 in Waukesha to learn more.

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