Normally, when it comes to caring for an older family member, having some help from brothers and sisters can be a good thing. However, siblings are sometimes a source of stress if conflicts arise. There’s nothing you can do about family dynamics, but there are some ways you can effectively handle conflicts with your siblings in a way that’s ultimately good for your loved one.
Define Caregiving Responsibilities
Conflicts sometimes develop because of a misunderstanding about what caring for an elderly family member actually means. For instance, a currently unemployed sibling may insist he or she is in the best position to be the main caregiver. However, if you have your doubts about the individual’s motives or capabilities, take the time to:
• Clearly explain what a caregiver actually needs to do
• Set reasonable expectations
• Remind your sibling it’s your loved one’s needs that matter most
Family members can easily become overwhelmed by their caregiving duties, and a professional home caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your caregiving team. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide elderly home care. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
Avoid the Temptation to React Emotionally
If serious conflict arises, reacting emotionally will only make things worse. Instead, take a step back and make an effort to work out the issue together. It’s also a good idea to avoid defaulting to standard defenses such as “You always do this!” or “You don’t know Mom like I do!” The only thing this does is create barriers and extend the conflict.
Have Regular Family Meetings
Conflicts with scheduling or the approach to providing care sometimes develop because everyone is on a different page. For example, you might be more aware of medication changes because you normally take your loved one to doctors’ appointments. However, another sibling may be more aware of Mom or Dad’s financial situation. Conflicts of this nature may be resolved by getting everyone together on a regular basis. Use opportunities like this to:
• Establish a clear caregiving schedule if multiple siblings will be helping out
• Get everyone up to speed on your loved one’s medical, financial, and lifestyle details
• Work out differences in an open format where everyone can have their say
Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Edmonton, AB, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Get an Impartial Outsider’s Opinion
If you and your siblings simply cannot agree on what’s best for Mom or Dad, consider bringing in an impartial third party. This may involve having a doctor provide a full assessment of your loved one’s current condition and care needs. A social worker or geriatric care manager can also provide similar assessments that can be distributed to all siblings.
Agree on Ways to Share Information
A lack of communication is another factor that sometimes contributes to caregiving conflicts among siblings. Solve this problem by mutually agreeing on ways to share information. For example, you can use weekly emails for general updates and text messages for more urgent issues.
Set Aside Long-Standing Squabbles
Even if you have brothers or sisters you don’t get along with, ignoring their input entirely is only going to make things worse. Set aside any lingering feelings and concentrate on what’s right for your loved one.
Get Your Parent Involved
If your loved one is still mentally and physically capable of voicing his or her opinion, get him or her in on the conversation. This will give your loved one a chance to express his or her care-related preferences. Your loved one may even be able to assign different aspects of caregiving to different siblings based on their abilities and level of responsibility.
Many conflicts over caregiving responsibilities can be resolved by hiring a professional caregiver for your loved one. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated home care, Edmonton, AB, 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. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (780) 490-7337.