“My sister just does not see that our Mom needs more help. She is miles away and I am the one who checks on Mom everyday. She does call Mom nearly every day, but Mom does a good job of downplaying how she is really doing. There are four siblings and we are split down the middle on this. Since I am the lead caregiver, I am beginning to resent my sister and older brother. The strain is getting harder. What should I do?”
Each family has to come together for the sake of their aging parents. Achieving consensus can be difficult when some siblings live a distance away and care giving is not equally shared. If the time comes that the sibling providing the most care determines that living alone is no longer an option, engaging everyone, including Mom or Dad if possible, in an honest and honoring discussion is key.
A sibling that is living a distance away and not involved on a daily basis, can have very different ideas about the course of action that should be taken. Each family member comes to this challenge with their own life experiences and personal relationship with their parent. They bring, too, their own baggage of family history with all of their siblings.So it’s no surprise when differing opinions collide. How to resolve? Those who see the need to make a change must stop telling “what” should be done and take some time to explain “why” they are concerned. If it is hard for one or two siblings to keep up the current level of support they are carrying, they need to be able to honestly explain how they are feeling and others need to try to understand their perspective.
Those who are far away should consider finding an opportunity to come spend more concentrated time with their parent to see for themselves what others see. Decisions are always easier and much more black and white when discussed in a living room and not in the sterile environment of a hospital or nursing home room after an emergency. They also need to be honest with themselves. Do they hesitate moving a parent from the family home out of fear of no longer having it to come home to?
It is also important to realize that some family members are simply not capable of sitting with someone who’s sick. It’s not that they love a parent less; they simply don’t have the same gift of being present in those moments as others do. Try to understand their perspective before disregarding it. Ask them for other solutions.
Adult children have to realize that the most honoring thing they can do for their parent is to do what’s right, make the tough decisions, and love them enough to help them through this life transition.
We all have different abilities to give of ourselves. I can help guide the conversation that is needed between siblings. Together we can find a way to change the conversation so you are not simply covering the same ground. There is no obligation. I will listen and help the family understand the options they have and take the next steps. This stuff is not easy but it does not have to be so hard. You do not have to sort through this all alone. Give me a call at 262-832-7113 and allow me to help.