I understand firsthand that caring for an aging loved one can be complicated. When our brothers or sisters are also involved, coordinating care and making decisions can become even more complex. While we all recognize and admit that having help can make a really big difference, siblings can also be difficult, emotional, and complex.
In an effort to help you and your family navigate these added challenges, our Care Guides at Homethrive have put together some tips on how siblings can better collaborate and avoid conflict:
Plan a Scheduled Meeting
Try not to catch your siblings off guard by raising your concerns with no warning. Planning a meeting gives everyone involved a chance to prepare to discuss their point of view. This will also give you a chance to plan how you want to present and prioritize your information.
Prepare for the Conversation
Be prepared to discuss your loved one’s struggles along with any objective information you’ve collected. Share your concerns. What is impacting you the most (e.g. is your income affected)? Ask yourself what you really want from your siblings. Do you want more time off? Do you want them to take over certain tasks? Do you have questions about what the most appropriate level of care for your loved one is (e.g. living at home vs. in an assisted living community)? Make an effort to focus on the positives as well by recognizing and pointing out everyone’s strengths and efforts.
Be Open to Siblings’ Ideas and Suggestions
Prepare to listen to your siblings’ perspectives. Rather than proposing caregiving tasks be divided equally, consider dividing tasks which may appeal to interests, skills, and availability. For example, if one sibling has a background in accounting, perhaps they would feel more comfortable managing financial matters.
Avoid Family Competition
Stay focused on what is best for your aging loved one and how each of you can contribute to that goal. Avoid falling back into younger roles or fighting old battles. It’s important for all involved caregivers to utilize their individual strengths and voice their individual points of view while working together to make the best joint decisions possible.
If the process is too challenging and conflicts aren't resolved, you can always bring in an objective professional to assist in problem solving.