Thursday, May 20, 2021
The Washington Post published this article, When an ailing parent needs more care, sibling conflicts can arise and add to stress.
Everyone wants what is best for Mom. But when an aging parent receives a dire diagnosis, old scores, rivalries and pecking orders from childhood can come back to haunt.
Siblings may spar over the merits of assisted living vs. in-home care. The oldest may make a critical decision without consulting the others. Another is focused on who will pick up the tab.
The article notes that typically one of the kids does the bulk of the caregiving, usually "the oldest or youngest daughter or the parent’s favorite...." Note this quote from the article: "The most common grievance of primary caregivers: “Why is no one helping me?” ... On average, the person in this role devotes 24 hours per week to caregiving over a period of four to five years, according to the AARP-NAC report. This, while the majority hold other jobs, too." Siblings may not reconcile just because mom now needs care. Others may live too far away to pitch in. The experts interviewed recommend a plan, identifying which sibling might contribute money, another may be able to provide hands-on help, another can handle the administrative matters like reviewing insurance claims and paying bills. One message that comes through clearly in the article is the importance of communication amongst the kids. Avoid the traps of arm-chair quarterbacking when the siblings who aren't providing the care decide the sibling caregiver isn't providing the care in the way they would.... The article discusses the use of mediators or social workers who work with elders.
The biggest mistake caregivers make is not starting conversations earlier with parents about advance planning, Irving says.
Ask parents what quality of life looks like for them and where they want to live in their later years, she says. Being able to respect a parent’s wishes can circumvent sibling infighting later.