Siblings Caring for Aging Parents

When my mother brought my brother home from the hospital for the first time, she joked that she had had another child so I wouldn’t be alone in taking care of her in her "old age". Now that she needs the assistance, I am grateful for a sibling who shares the responsibility of caring for our elderly mother.

Not all families are so lucky. Simple geography might determine which sibling is best able to provide face-time with the senior parent. Long-time family dynamics can be challenging when siblings revert to old childhood roles. Some may find the stress of juggling work, raising children or caring for spouses limits their ability to help with parental support, so the family member with the fewest perceived obligations winds up providing the lion’s share of care. Some siblings may feel they are doing too much while others feel they do too little.

Feelings of frustration, anger, guilt and resentment do nothing to help with caring for an elderly parent.

In her book and her blog, They’re Your Parents, Too!, author Francine Russo explores and helps navigate the oftentimes tumultuous landscape of sibling tensions when dealing with eldercare. She covers topics ranging from acknowledging and accepting your parents’ aging, family decision-making and sustaining the family connection into the future.

Ms. Russo recently appeared in a video segment on the ABC News Special Series on Eldercare with Diane Sawyer. In it, she acknowledges that “the (families) who got along best accepted that they all had different relationships (with their parents), but they were in it together.”

And when the family caregiver needs a break, consider utilizing the services of a quality senior home care agency for respite eldercare.


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Comments (2) -

  • Susan Mathew

    9/20/2011 11:10:38 PM | Reply

    I agree, it is really nice to have a sibling when you are older and have to care for a parent - - we have appreciated your nursing home ratings on Caregiverlist, too, since we live in another state from our Mom. Thank you.

  • Shrewsbury assisted living

    9/21/2011 3:47:13 PM | Reply

    Siblings should share the responsibilities of caring for their parents weather in care home or not.

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