When ageing parents need care, it’s often up to the adult children to step in and make important decisions regarding their medical and health-related needs. This often comes with many challenges that can quickly escalate and lead to conflict among siblings. To help you navigate through this process more efficiently, here are five everyday struggles to consider when taking care of ageing parents and what you can do to keep your family on good terms.
Determining their Needs
Determining when it’s time to provide caregiver support or move an elderly parent into a home can be very difficult. Most seniors want to maintain their independence as long as possible, and some siblings may disagree regarding the timing and costs. Every situation is unique, so it’s essential that all family members meet with doctors and geriatric care professionals to determine and understand the appropriate level of care required today and into the future.
Dividing Up Tasks Fairly
One of the biggest challenges when taking care of ageing parents is dividing up tasks up fairly among siblings. Even though it’s logical that the person who lives closest to the parent should become the primary caregiver, it’s not always the best option. It’s more important to make sure that each person is the right one for the job they are assigned. To best determine the lines of responsibility, each family member should weigh in to identify each sibling’s strengths. It’s important that each sibling is open about what they can do and can’t do so you can easily divide up the tasks. Just remember that it’s your parents’ needs that are most important. So determining which member is best equipped to handle their daily care needs, finances, information, and medical care is essential.
Balancing Work, Life, and Care
As an adult, it’s already difficult enough to find a comfortable work-life balance, so when you add caregiving into the mix, it can become quite challenging. If you are struggling emotionally or financially, you need to express this to your siblings. Letting the caregiver tasks overwhelm you will only do more harm than good for everyone involved.
Another challenge that many families face is determining if and when it is necessary to enlist outside caregiver support. When it comes to your parents’ needs, you should never be ashamed or afraid to ask for additional help. Caregiving is both physically and emotionally challenging, and hiring a professional company to come once a week or each day can often make a big difference in the care they receive while alleviating conflict between siblings.
It’s not always easy caring for ageing parents. You and your siblings will have your own families, work schedules, lives, and hobbies. And in most cases, each sibling will have a different point of view regarding care. Some may become jealous, others may not be able to lend as much time as others, and money and assets can also lead to conflict among family members. To avoid arguments and sour feelings, it’s important to keep communication open, have family meetings and attempt to find common ground that appeases everyone. When this is easier said than done, it’s time to consult with a professional who can help you and your family members work through the challenges.
If you and your siblings are struggling to find a proper balance for taking care of your ageing parents, maybe it’s time to sit down with a counsellor. At Vaughan Relationship Centre, we can help you and your family work out any conflicts and maintain peace during these type of challenging situations.