5 Suggestions When a Sibling Won’t Help With a Parent’s Care

sibling careIf you are an adult child with an older parent, providing care for them while juggling your own career and family can be a struggle. On top of that juggling act, many adult children often find themselves having disagreements with their siblings over an aging parent’s care. One problem that arises is having one or more siblings who just won’t help.

People are often reluctant to discuss this issue with anyone outside of their own family, fearing others will think the worst of them. First, know that your family is not alone in having this fight. It is one of the most common disputes families of a senior have. What frequently happens is that one child bears the responsibility for most of the care. Typically it is the oldest daughter. Other siblings use a variety of excuses for not pitching in, but none make it any easier to accept their lack of support.

Here are five suggestions that might help to improve the situation:

1. Pull together a list of activities and tasks your parent needs help with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

2. Ask your sibling (or siblings) to meet you to talk about the list. It is best to have the meeting someplace other than your parent’s house. Try to find a location like a coffeehouse or restaurant to talk.

3. When you sit down with your siblings, share the list and show them in black and white how much of it you’ve been doing. Try to keep your tone respectful. Getting angry or accusatory probably won’t work if you are trying to gain their support.

4. Ask them to work with you to divide the list of duties up evenly. Your goal should be to get some deadlines down on paper and make sure everyone has a copy of the same list. If your sibling resists or won’t make a commitment, ask them if they would prefer to pay for in-home care to help fulfill their share of the duties instead. That might be better if they really can’t or won’t commit to helping.

5. If your best efforts to enlist their help fail, you can consider hiring a family mediator to try to bring resolution to the problem. If you really don’t believe that will work, you might have to accept it and move forward to find other solutions for getting your parent the support they need.