January 28, 2016

How do I share the care taking of my loved one with my siblings?

   Often, when a parent needs care and there is more than one child, the responsibilities of caretaking are divided in a practical manner. For example, if one sibling lives closer to the parent, they may be responsible for more daily caretaking, and the other sibling may be in charge of the finances, legal planning, etc. However, even though the care is being shared based on practical considerations, there may be underlying resentment by the day to day caretaker child because she/he is bearing more of the primary responsibility for the parent.
   In order to avoid the buildup of resentment and family conflict, it can be helpful to meet with a professional geriatric care manager who is trained to listen to each child?s point of view as well as that of the parent in need of care, to provide a safe space to openly explore past and current family dynamics, the wishes of the children and parent/s, as well as the practicalities of dividing the caretaking responsibilities.
   Through an open dialogue at the beginning of the caretaking process, and throughout, geriatric care managers can provide a space to discuss difficult feelings and address issues head on to prevent conflicts and divisions within the family.
   The process of caring for an aging parent can be daunting and often brings to the fore family dynamics that have been in place since childhood. It is always a good idea to enter and move through the care taking process with the support and guidance of a trusted professional who can help ease this enormous life transition.