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3 Ways to Enjoy Caring for Aging Parents with Siblings

February 3, 2022

Do you have an aging parent or parents who need extra help around the house? When it comes to caring for an elderly parent, coordinating with your siblings can be both a blessing and a burden. Sometimes it may seem like one sibling isn’t pulling their weight, or that someone else is being overbearing. But with these tips from Senior Home Companions, caring for aging parents with your siblings can become a more enjoyable experience that is beneficial for everyone involved. 

1. Identify appropriate roles for siblings

Our first and probably most important tip is to try to prevent all of the responsibilities of caregiving from falling onto just one sibling. We know that everyone has their own skills and talents when it comes to caregiving. We’ve counseled a number of siblings on caring for their aging parents over the years, and our Senior Home Companions President David Morgan has identified a few different roles that can be fulfilled within each family. Many successful families have sibling roles that include: 

  • The “air traffic control” role, with a sibling who coordinates logistics, schedules/attends appointments and determines action plans.
  • The “bookkeeper” role focuses on finances and maintaining important documents, which can be a great remote option for a sibling who doesn’t live nearby. 
  • The “Help me, Rhonda” role is often a local sibling who can visit more frequently, especially when immediate issues or last-minute appointments come up. 

“These roles can be anything, and different families may have different roles,” explained Morgan. “But these three we have found to be pretty fundamental and work really well.”

2. Schedule regular family meetings with siblings

Open communication is essential in healthy families, but even more so for families who are caring for an aging parent. If you start to notice the mental or physical health of your parents declining, it’s time to schedule a family meeting. And it doesn’t stop with just one meeting — we recommend planning to meet every six months or once a year to continue the conversation on family roles and the best environment for those who are aging. 

We also recommend working with a financial planner or a Senior Home Companions Family Matters Counselor, as an impartial facilitator who can help you explore difficult to approach topics, discuss financial/legal relationships to honor your parents and make fruitful plans for the future. Guiding families through these important conversations about caring for aging parents with siblings is a distinct passion of ours.

3. Get extra help when needed

Even when you are able to identify specific roles and rotate responsibilities between family members, there may still be times that you need a little extra help in caring for aging parents with siblings. According to AgingInPlace, about half of adult caregivers say it’s moderately or very difficult to balance work and caregiving. When you work with Senior Home Companions, our compassionate companion caregivers can offer respite care services ranging from a few hours a week to multiple days for an extended vacation. Taking time for yourself is essential to remaining able to care for others, so make sure that each sibling can have regular breaks when needed. 

If you’d like to discuss the in-home services provided by Senior Home Companions to supplement your sibling caregiving, contact us today for a complimentary consultation! Our offices in Indianapolis, Lafayette and Central Florida would be happy to talk about your family’s options.