Senior Care: Sharing Responsibilities Among Caregivers

Caring for an aging parent is challenging, and the situation becomes even more complex when you are sharing responsibilities with your siblings. While the extra help is beneficial, personality conflicts and differing opinions on care can all wreak havoc on your relationships. As you begin to navigate the challenges that come with caregiving, use these tips to improve your family dynamics.

Redefine Your Roles

One of the biggest issues that can occur when siblings share parent care is the influence of past roles. As you begin to discuss each person's responsibilities, ask each other if these roles still hold true. For example, someone who was irresponsible as a teenager may no longer be the wild child. Alternatively, the person with the nurturing personality may simply not have the time to take on additional responsibilities. Encourage everyone to look at the family dynamics from a fresh perspective before hashing out who will be responsible for your parent's needs.

Designate Responsibilities

In the course of caring for an aging parent, there will be many decisions to be made, and everyone may not always agree. For this reason, it is important to choose one of you to be the primary caregiver. Ideally, this person should have a strong understanding of your parent's condition along with the time to manage most of their needs. It is important to note, however, that each of the other siblings can still be a valuable source of support. For example, one sibling could drive your parent to and from the adult day care center so that the primary caregiver can have some respite.

Prevent Caregiver Burnout

As siblings, it is important to look out for one another, and caregiver burnout is a serious possibility. Each person should be aware of the signs of burnout, and it should be an open topic during family meetings so that anyone who is struggling feels comfortable asking for help. Fortunately, there are simple ways to arrange for caregiver respite. For example, adult day care is one solution for preventing caregiver burnout since the AARP reports that caregivers experienced less depression on the days that their loved ones attended sessions.

Working together as siblings can be hard at times, but it will make your parent proud to see you set aside your differences for their benefit. As you begin to create your care plan, make sure that each person is in agreement with their new roles and has an outlet for relaxation. By making your family's health and happiness a priority, you can increase your bond while ensuring your parent's wellbeing.