Helping Siblings Overcome Family Conflict While Caring for Aging Parents
Courtesy Home Instead Senior Care, Northshore LIVING WELL Magazine
Sharing isn’t always easy for brothers and sisters who grew up under the same roof. Divvying up the wealth of toys, bedrooms or vehicles may have been a challenge at your house, and sharing the daily household chores could have led to family conflict as well. Some things never change!
As the general manager for the Home Instead Senior Care franchise office in Slidell, I am pleased to introduce you to the “50-50 Rule.” Home Instead Senior Care has designed this guide to help adult siblings and their aging parents deal with sensitive situations that arise among brothers and sisters as their parents age and need assistance. The guide covers a variety of sibling caregiving topics such as: How do you decide workload with your sister? What’s the best way to build teamwork with your brothers? How can you reach an agreement as a family on important topics, while avoiding family conflict?
The “50-50 Rule” refers to the average age when siblings are caring for their parents (50) as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share in the plans for care (50/50). The program is a follow-up to the organization’s successful “40/70 Rule” program, which encourages adult 40-year-old children to begin discussions on sensitive subjects with their 70-year-old parents sooner rather than later.
The guide features real-life family situations followed by ideas and resources to address those topics. These case studies were developed with input from sibling relationship expert Ingrid Connidis, Ph.D., from the University of Western Ontario. According to the research conducted for the HISC network, sharing the care of elderly parents can be quite an obstacle for adult siblings. In 43% of U.S. families, one sibling has the responsibility for providing most or all of the care for mom or dad, according to a survey of family caregivers. In only 2% of families in the U.S. and 3% in Canada did the siblings split the caregiving responsibility equally. Connidis says that “senior caregiving can either bring families together or cause brother and sister conflict,” and “in some cases it can do both.”
For more information on this public educational program and to receive a free copy of the 50-50 Rule Guide, please feel free to contact us at 985-726-2668 or stop by our office at 1502 Front St. in Slidell.