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When you’re responsible for an ailing or aging parent’s care, the first people you expect to help are your siblings—and it can hurt, deeply, if they aren’t supportive. The first thing to look at is why.
Do your siblings say they’d like to help but live too far away? See if there are ways to involve them—especially ones that make the most of their strengths. If your brother is good with numbers, perhaps he can assume responsibility for your parent’s finances, such as dealing with health insurance providers and paying bills online.
Sometimes family dynamics can get in the way of everyone’s best intentions. Is your sister second-guessing the money spent on your parent’s care? Rather than assuming that she’s worried about the size of her inheritance, try to find out the reasons behind her concern. If she questions whether the care is necessary, ask your parent’s doctor or home health care manager to speak with her frankly about your parent’s medical condition and the care required to manage it. If the cost of the care itself does turn out to be problematic, ask your sister to research alternatives and their costs.
Acknowledge too that your siblings’ concerns may be valid. Is it possible that you’re too close to an issue to see it clearly?
Remember there isn’t a right or wrong way of caregiving—your style, like your relationship with your parent, is bound to be different from your siblings’ styles. One thing is for certain, though: everyone will appreciate your effort to keep them in the loop when it comes to decisions about mom or dad. If you can’t all get together, schedule a phone conference or Skype session. And most importantly, recognize that despite your differences in opinion, everyone has your parent’s best interest at heart.
To find out how VNSNY can help you care for your family member, please call 1-800-675-0391.