siblings won'thelp with elderly parents

Unsupportive Siblings Won’t Help With Elderly Parents

Tips for When Siblings Won’t Help With Aging Parents

Even when there are a lot of adult children in a family, one sibling usually takes care of their aging parents the most. In many families, this person lives closest to the parents or is best able to care for them. However, the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent (or two) can overwhelm a single sibling. 

Not all siblings want to help care for their parents, while others cannot; either way, the main caregiver needs assistance from their siblings. When brothers and sisters cannot agree, fights start with the parents in the middle suffering. You can skip begging and nagging your siblings with some perspective and advice. Read on to learn how to deal with this difficult situation and get your life back with or without your sibling’s help.

How do you deal with unsupportive siblings as a caregiver?

A sibling may be unsupportive for various reasons, but you still need help. If you can not change how your siblings act, it is time to do what caregivers who do not have siblings do: find help and support elsewhere. You do not have to do things on your own. Support groups, family members, and friends who have also been caregivers can be a place to get help and support or just to let off steam. 

Just keep in mind that nothing is perfect. Even when they have help, caregivers sometimes wish they could be left alone to make decisions. Additionally, remember there is no right or wrong way of caregiving. Like your relationship with your parents, your style will differ from that of your siblings. 

If they refuse to aid you and your parents, it’s time to find someone who will. Consider looking into assisted living, respite care, and other in-house options for your parent’s long-term care. We are just a phone call away and ready to help.

Is it the responsibility of the whole family to take care of their aging parents?

Family caregivers are not always possible because many elderly folks’ children do not reside nearby or have lifestyles not conducive to senior care. While distributing duties seems the fairest and equal method of caring for aging parents, it’s rarely feasible. The family will need to map out a plan together, but if someone refuses to get involved in the decision-making or the care, the choices could fall on only one or two siblings. If you are also unable to care for your aging parent(s), you need to find part or full-time care for them with options like live-in care, home care, and assisted living. 

Why Won’t Siblings Help With Elderly Parents?

“I don’t have time.” 

If your sibling claims they are too busy to care for your elderly parent, it is likely the case that they are telling the truth—at least to them. Taking care of an elderly parent is not always meticulously planned. Family members who are in charge of the enormous responsibility typically do so while working at least one other job and caring for their children’s needs. 

It takes dedication, time management, patience, and above all else, a clear awareness of how long each activity takes to accomplish, to manage all of these concerns. Sandwich generations of children may find their parent’s care overwhelming as they still have young children to care for and full-time jobs. Older siblings may have just retired or could be dealing with their own health problems. 

“I can’t see Mom/Dad like that.”

Though it is indeed terrible to see a loved one deteriorate, it is not accurate to think that you, the caretaker, would find caring for a deteriorating parent any less challenging. While most children feel privileged to be able to support their elders during their senior days, others cannot stomach the care for the elderly. 

Their suffering is brought on by our anguish at witnessing their parents decline, which not everyone can mentally handle. You feel the same way but manage to push through and do want needs to be done, but this does not mean your siblings will be as strong. Pointing this out to an uninvolved sibling might sometimes help you get your point through, but other times it can make them angry and make them defensive.

“I can’t afford to take care of them.”

Most people who care for others do not have the money either, sometimes it’s true, and for others, it would be with some small changes. Most family caregivers do not get paid unless a personal care agreement exists. That affects not only their finances right now but also their finances in the future. 

If they honestly cannot afford to care for your parents and you cannot either, you will need to look into governmental assistance to help cover the costs. Additionally, try to come up with ideas and alternatives that best fit your sibling’s budget. If you can get them to agree to something small initially, it will be easier to get their help when your parents’ care needs grow.

Don’t expect equal division of care between siblings

 It is important to set reasonable goals about what everyone can handle regarding parental care. Keep in mind taking care of someone almost never splits up evenly. One or two siblings will do most of the work most of the time. So focus on what each person can do, even if it is not as much as you would like them to contribute. 

Do not expect everyone to do the same amount of work. Most of the time, the main caretaker will be the child who lives closest to the aging parent or has the closest emotional bond with them. When other family members do not offer to help right away, the main caretaker can feel alone, left out, and angry. Try to empathize with them and encourage them to do the same for you. 

What if my siblings don’t live nearby?

How much help a sibling can give depends on how close they live to their parents. It makes sense that the people who live closest to you will be the ones who can help you pick up a prescription, go to a doctor’s appointment, or rush to the ER in an emergency. The siblings who live far away should do what they can to help, but they should also let the siblings who live closer take charge. 

Too often, siblings who live far away try to tell other siblings what to do when they do not fully understand the situation. This makes the siblings who live close by angry and frustrated. Instead, ask your siblings for assistance based on their ability to help from their location. 

Make your needs as a caregiver known to your siblings

When siblings are not around to see what the caregiver does daily, they often do not realize how much they do. You cannot expect a sibling to know when you need their help because they cannot read your mind. So, when you need help, it is important to ask for assistance. Siblings do not always do their part of the work because they do not think there is a problem or they do not want to believe how bad things are. 

Share updates on your aging parent’s care

A big part of caring for a parent is making sure everyone knows what to expect, what tasks need to be done, and when help is needed. Stay organized with your siblings through email, a conference call, a family meeting, text messages, or even a shared document. Keep them informed of all doctor’s notes, diagnoses, test results, etc. If they knew what was happening and how much help was needed, they might be more willing to help.

You can find an app for just about everything for smartphones, and you will find many options for organizations and even some designed for caregivers. Also, the internet makes sharing checklists and other media easy. For example, create a Google calendar to keep everyone informed and running smoothing. 

Acknowledge each other’s strengths as caregivers

Each person is unique and has different strengths such, as some are hands-on, and others can navigate healthcare systems. Find your niche and your siblings so you can put them to good use. Recognize that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and ask each sibling to help in areas where they excel.

Be direct with siblings in your requests for help with elderly parents’ care

If your needs are not being met, a family meeting is the perfect place to say so. When asking for help, speak slowly and directly. Instead of barking orders, give examples of times you needed help. Try to paint a picture of what you need so your siblings can understand. Do not give them any ultimatums or play blame games. 

What to do when direct requests for help don’t work

What should you do if you have tried all the above methods and are either ignored or told off? You need support regardless of their indifference, which means you need to find a new community to help you with your needs. Caregivers must know when to fight and when to let go because trying to get your siblings to help may be draining you physically and emotionally. Call Stellar Care today and find out what options you have available to care for your parents and yourself too.

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