Resolving Sibling Rivalries while Caring for Aging Parents
Would You Like Your Sibling(s) To Be More Involved?
As the only daughter in the family, I've always been very responsible, while my siblings have tended to stand back and let others do the heavy lifting. Now that my parents are ailing, I've been doing much more than my siblings in terms of their care. We all live in the same town as my parents, but it might as well be that I am the only one here. All of the responsibility for taking care of my parents falls on my shoulders. My siblings only have excuses. This is causing stress between my husband and me, as he suggests I step back and give my siblings a chance to step up to the plate. But what if they don't? Besides, I promised my parents I would always be there for them. Does this sound all too familiar?
Would You Like To Feel Less Stressed When Caring For Your Parents?
Family dynamics are often more powerful than we think. We often fall back into old patterns of dealing with our siblings and our parents. Sometimes, we open old wounds. It might be time for you to step up to the plate and talk to your siblings and parents face to face. Before you speak, develop clear goals for what you hope to accomplish. Let them know that you are finding it difficult to manage your parents all by yourself, and it is causing problems with you, and your family. Give your siblings a list of specific tasks that they can take over or ask them a way that they can alternate responsibilities with you. Let them know what is not working for you and how their help can improve the situation.
Opening old wounds can be dangerous. When speaking with your siblings be aware of falling into old patterns of behavior. Put the issues in terms of your needs. Let them know you are feeling overwhelmed. Don't fall into the old traps of arguing who is right or wrong and who is the favorite child. Most of all no character assassination or name calling. Be specific about how they can share in your parent's care. You might be surprised when they rise to the occasion. If they can't, ask them if they can take over paying the bills, or pay for a cleaning service, an aide, or someone else to take them to and from their appointments. Let them know that this is not what you bargained for. Remember, you deserve not to be burdened with the whole responsibility of caregiving.
Addressing the situation has the potential to open up new lines of communication and understanding, and may even bring you and your siblings closer. Even if the responses from your siblings are not what you wanted to hear, you will feel better because you clearly communicated your thoughts and feelings. If this is your situation, I assist families in navigating the journey of providing care for their parents while balancing their own work schedules, caring for their children, and other responsibilities I assist siblings in developing a plan that will take them from point A to point B. If this is you, please schedule a free appointment (516) 972-4463.