9 Essential Tips to Stop Fighting with Siblings About Senior Parents
Fran Russo, author of “They’re Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy,” offers these tips to help you take action and avoid conflict:
- Be empathetic. Be understanding of everyone’s circumstances: your siblings’, your parents’, and your own. It’s a stressful time for everybody.
- Divvy up responsibilities according to each person’s strengths. Let them choose what they want to tackle (communicating with the doctors, paying bills online, or researching housing options).
- Don’t expect a miracle. If your sister has always been selfish, she may not change. That doesn’t mean you can’t try to get her to pitch in.
- Hold your tongue. How important is it if you and your brother don’t do everything the same way? Unless it’s a safety issue, button up!
- Just ask. Have your parents participate in decision-making, or at least weigh in, if it’s realistic.
- Keep everyone in the loop. There are now websites that let family members collect all the information in one place (from caregiving and medical information to tasks that need to get done) and log on any time. You should convene for regular family conferences, preferably in person, or otherwise via conference calls or Skype or FaceTime.
- Spell out your needs. Maybe a sibling should know what you need, but maybe they have no clue. Perhaps they think you don’t want help.
- Timeout. If an issue becomes contentious, take a break, calm yourself, then address the topic at another time. Apologize if it’s warranted.
- Vent appropriately. Visit a caregiving forum or website, learn how others have handled tough situations, call a friend, see a therapist, or talk to clergy. Professionals can help families untangle issues relating to aging parents and help all parties make decisions.
If you're ready to talk about senior care for your loved ones, HomeSpark is standing by. Contact HomeSpark today for more information about our non-medical home care services.