A joint study conducted by Cornell and Purdue universities in 2013 found that a parent’s more likely to become depressed when his or her preference of primary caregiver isn’t honored. Splitting up caregiving roles can be an uneasy conversation for siblings. Each sibling is brought up different in terms of responsibilities and the parent-child relationship.
If you’re about to negotiate caregiving with the siblings, the important thing is not letting past conflict interfere. At the end of the day, it’s about one thing — family.
1. Assess Needs
When you’re assessing your parent’s needs, make them part of the ongoing conversations. The more people you discuss this with, the better. Each sibling has different perspectives and may be able to identify unique areas in which they can help. The key here is getting on the same page, opening the lines of communication.
2. Allocate Spending
Money is commonly a huge issue for siblings. When it comes to inheritances, power struggles arise. When discussing financials, shift your focus from the aftermath and focus towards the present. Once you’ve identified your parent’s needs, you’ll need to discuss how much should be spent on home health, assisted living or nursing home services.
3. Line Out Responsibilities
Every family is different and when it’s time to negotiate caregiving with siblings, the best thing is to lay all the cards on the table. Shared responsibility can come in various forms — medical visits, bills and expenses, meal preparation, cleaning, transportation or household chores. In some cases, one sibling may live closer to the parent than the other. This is why it’s important to be realistic when lining out responsibilities and assignees.
4. Divide and Conquer
Once you’ve outlined your parent’s needs, you can divide and conquer between siblings. When assigning caregiving roles, consider availability, proximity and interest. While some tasks like legal and medical should be dedicated to one person, meals or transportation can be rotated. Older grandchildren in the family can also help out by providing social interaction and taking care of some household chores during visits.
5. Plan to Communicate and Support
Generally, be open and honest. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, share it with your sibling(s) and try to pick up the slack in other areas. Schedule a regular phone call or meeting with them to communicate your observations. The goal here is keeping everyone in the loop. And by keeping a consistent line of support, you’ll go beyond your caregiving duties by establishing a stronger bond with your siblings.
It can be both amazing and challenging caregiving for an older parent. Bringing up the conversation to negotiate caregiving with siblings can be a bit tricky at first. But, we can assure you, that following these 5 keys to success will make it easier for everyone involved. For more caregiving tips and tricks, stay tuned with us on the blog. And if you have any questions, feel free to give our McCourtney Family Hospice team a call.
Norman: (405) 360-2400
Ada: (580) 332-6900