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Response Post: When Elder Care Brings Back Sibling Tensions

January 28, 2010

Below is my response posting to an article on Time magazine’s website entitled ” When Elder Care Brings Back Sibling Tensions”. I thought I would share it with you to receive your feedback on this topic of sibling tensions related to elder parent care and support. After you read the article, feel free to leave a comment on your experiences and suggestions on how siblings can provide mutually beneficial support. Here is my response:

Sibling rivalry is inevitable, but each sibling needs to provide mutually realistic expectations. I believe all siblings should have the obligation to provide support in one form or another. This support can come financially or psychologically, especially when the caregiver’s siblings cannot be present. The primary caregiver must also understand that siblings who live across the country cannot readily spend the money to fly back and forth across the United States, especially in this economy. Psychological or financial support is realistic and reasonable. I have commonly seen siblings who live 3 or more states out, provide financial support through non-medical home care and caregiver support. However, if the other siblings are local and/or sitting back and not providing any kind of help when they are able to, then it is reasonable to be disappointed. Just as the article mentions, it might be necessary to bring in a third-party mediator (clergyman, counselor, and elder care mediators) when these actions compromise the relationship of the family. Primary caregivers should not resort to the grandiose statements that make the other siblings feel in any way inferior because they cannot be present at all times. I believe the least that other siblings can do is give the necessary psychological support using a tool that costs a fraction of a month’s salary–a cell phone! Lastly, I very much like the idea of having “parent duty” where sibling take turns caring for their parent. Again, it’s realistic if siblings live in a reasonably close and/or they can afford it to be present as often as the caregiver would like.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 8, 2010 6:33 pm

    Elder Care should be planned in advance so that making decisions during a time of crisis may be avoided. Planning beforehand may even lessen he tension between the parties.

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