Families are forever, as the saying goes. The memories you made, the lessons you’ve learned from your parents together – that bond lasts forever. However, while both you and your siblings may have Mom’s and Dad’s best interest at heart, it can still be difficult to see eye to eye when caring for aging parents with your siblings.

Why is caring for aging parents with your siblings so challenging? Well, every family is different, but one common reason siblings struggle to get along while caring for aging parents stems from childhood dynamics. If one sibling felt like they were treated unfairly or given less attention as a child, for example, it’s easy to carry that baggage into adulthood and caregiving. That, along with the emotional weight of caregiving for aging parents, can be overwhelming. Also, siblings can have different opinions about the best care for your parents, and those disagreements can have a direct effect on the care your parents receive. 

If you’ve been looking for ways to better navigate the caregiving experience with your siblings, here are five tips to keep in mind that may help:

  1. Try not to revert back to childhood roles. – As children, one sibling may have taken a lead role in caring for the others, but that’s not feasible when caring for aging parents. Remember to split the responsibilities to avoid caregiver burnout.
  2. Don’t assume your siblings are the same people now that they were as children. – It’s easy to make assumptions about your siblings’ opinions around caregiving based off of how they were as children. Remember that people grow and change, and you can avoid arguments by treating your siblings as the adults they are instead of the little brothers or sisters you may remember.
  3. Avoid thinking, “I shouldn’t have to ask.”  – If you find yourself carrying the brunt of the caregiving responsibilities, you may start to think that if your siblings cared enough, you wouldn’t have to ask for help. However, adults can get lost in their own lives and responsibilities and not realize that another sibling is feeling burnt out. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and communicate clearly when and how you need help.
  4. Remember that Mom and Dad can start a spat unintentionally. – Sometimes, caring for aging parents with your siblings means tensions can get high, but that’s not always on you or your siblings. Parents can cause strife between siblings by comparing how one sibling comes to visit more often or how much more helpful they are than the other. Don’t take it personally, and remember, that’s an issue you have with your parents, not your siblings.
  5. Plan for the future! – It can be tough, but talking through the hard realities of the future for your family can help with making preparations now that can save you stress and arguments later.

Above all, communication is key to caring for aging parents with your siblings. Remember that no one else knows your parents as well as you and your siblings, and working as a team as they age at home is much easier and more beneficial to your parents than working against each other. Extend a little extra kindness and consideration to each other as you navigate this challenging time in your family. The stakes are high when you care for aging parents, and you don’t want to compromise your parents’ care experience for the sake of pride. 

And whenever you and your siblings need help, reach out to TheKey of North Carolina! We can provide a caregiver in Raleigh or the surrounding area that helps support you and your siblings when you feel caregiver burnout is near. To learn more about how we can help, contact us online or at 919-436-1871!