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A Sibling’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents

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An older adult woman with her daughter sitting on the couch, smiling and hugging each other.

Caregiving for a parent can be extremely rewarding, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest thing in the world—especially when trying to coordinate care with your siblings. By working together, your family can ensure your parents get the care they deserve, all while supporting each other through the unique challenges associated with caregiving.

There are several key steps to caring for aging parents:

  1. Determine your parents’ needs
  2. Choose a primary caregiver
  3. Delegate when needed
  4. Take care of yourself
  5. Support your siblings
  6. Seek professional help

By working together, you can give your parents a life full of love, support, and care—just like they deserve.

1: Determine Your Parents’ Needs

Caregiving requires open communication—especially when several people are involved. If you’re spending your time caring for your parents, set some time aside and have an open, honest conversation.

Work together and focus on learning about their:

  • Overall capabilities
  • Health
  • Wishes for the future
  • Concerns or questions
  • Medical needs
  • Financial plans

This conversation can be difficult, so make sure to listen with compassion. Involve your siblings in the discussion, and encourage everybody to share their thoughts.

By determining your parents’ needs, you can begin making a plan to get them the care they need. This is the first step towards improving their quality of life and securing a strong bond within your family.

2: Choose a Primary Caregiver

While it’s essential to involve everybody in this discussion, begin by choosing a primary caregiver. This can do wonders for streamlining communication and decision-making, which makes it much simpler in case anything needs to be rushed.

There are a few factors to consider when choosing the primary caregiver:

  • Proximity to your parents
  • Scheduling flexibility
  • Personal strengths; caregiving can be demanding, and it isn’t always suitable for everyone!
  • Who is willing to take on the responsibilities

By determining a primary caregiver, you’re not only taking some pressure off yourself but also ensuring your parents have someone they can turn to for help and support. Remember—this role can change as needed, or you can even work out a schedule so everybody gets some time off.

Make sure to involve your parents in the process as well; their decisions matter, too!

3: Delegate When Needed

Caregiving can be demanding—especially for first-time caregivers. The tasks can easily become overwhelming when one person tries to do everything. Remember that caregiving is a team effort, so make sure to delegate tasks when needed; this is where sibling teamwork really shines.

Try to play to everybody’s strengths when possible. Maybe one sibling is incredible with balancing budgets and finances, while another enjoys cooking meals with your parents. By sharing and splitting the load among one another, you can continue providing comprehensive quality care to your parent, without putting anybody at risk of exhaustion or burnout.

4: Take Care of Yourself

There’s an old saying: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Caregiving, while rewarding, often requires a significant investment of your time and energy. Caregiver burnout is a real thing, and it’s something better avoided.

When you devote all of your efforts toward somebody else, it can lead to:

  • Physical exhaustion and fatigue
  • Feelings of depression or anxiety
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Feelings of resentment

Make sure to prioritize your own self-care. Whether you enjoy coffee dates with friends, yoga, reading a book, or even taking a much-needed nap, setting time aside for your own needs is an excellent way to ensure you can continue to properly support your loved ones.

Taking care of yourself is a crucial step in making sure you’re able to give your parents the care they deserve! Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it; your own needs are just as important as everybody else’s.

5: Support Your Siblings

Just as it’s okay for you to ask for help, don’t forget about your siblings. They’re likely feeling similar to you, so make sure that you’re always approaching things with empathy.

Don’t rush to judgment or try to blame others when something goes wrong. Instead, try to:

  • Listen actively and provide a supportive ear
  • Offer practical support, whether that’s taking over some responsibilities or helping out financially if possible
  • Share positive feedback and celebrate successes together
  • Encourage each other to take breaks and practice self-care
  • Check in regularly, not just about caregiving but about life in general
  • Remain patient and understanding, recognizing that everyone has their own coping mechanisms
  • Work together to find solutions to challenges, rather than focusing on the problems

Remember—you’re all working toward the same collaborative goal of giving your parents all of the love and care that you can. So make sure to cut each other some slack, and show each other how much you care; it’s an amazing way to build a strong bond that can last for the rest of your life.

An older adult man and his daughter smiling while looking at a photo album together.

6. Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, it can be complicated to care for a parent, even with the help of your siblings. That’s why our community at The Legacy at Falcon Point is here—we can help. Our community can give your parents a safe, supportive environment, and a place that feels just like home. Book a tour with us today, and let’s work together to give your parents a life full of love and care. They deserve it!

Written by LifeWell

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