June 5, 2013

Caregiving and Siblings: Asking for Help

As a caregiver for your parent, you may feel that their well-being is solely your responsibility. Despite having siblings who live close by, you may be the one handling the majority of the work. Caring for your aging parent with siblings who are not involved can be a complicated situation, but there are ways to get your siblings to help while maintaining relationships. Here are some ways to get your siblings involved with caring for your aging parent.

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Be honest.

The most important thing to do when trying to get a sibling to take on some responsibility is to talk to them honestly. If your sibling does not know how you are feeling, then they may never help or get any more involved than they already are. Sit down and talk with them about your feelings and let them know exactly what you would like them to do in order to help out.

Express appreciation and gratitude.

No matter how small the task, if your sibling helps out, be sure to tell them thank you and how much you appreciate their help. Everyone likes to know they are appreciated. Once your sibling realizes his or her help is valued, he or she may become more involved.

Divide and conquer.

Not all tasks can be accomplished by one sibling when caring for an aging parent. As a caregiver, you must remember you cannot do everything yourself. Ask your siblings to take on specific duties in order to share the responsibility. If things become contentious, be willing to compromise.

Get a professional involved.

Consult with your hospice social worker when finding ways to communicate with your siblings about sharing the caregiving responsibilities. The social worker is a trained professional who knows how to handle situations like yours. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Caregiving is a big responsibility for anyone but sharing the job can make things easier. Be sure to tell your siblings exactly what you expect of them and listen when they need to talk as well.