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How to Talk to Siblings About Aging Parents

Vital Sign Home Care

The holiday season is here. It’s a time that many people spend with family and friends. For families that live a long distance away from each other, the holidays are also an opportunity to address topics that may be difficult to address by phone and text, like talking to siblings about aging parents. It’s a sensitive topic, and your siblings may have different perspectives on how your parents are doing. This post discusses tips to use when speaking to siblings about the needs of your aging parents.

Ask for Opinions

Before you share your thoughts about what your parents may need assistance with, make sure to ask your siblings what they think. Ask if they think you need to talk about your mother or father. If you have concerns about whether your parents can manage on their own, see if your siblings feel the same.

You might have differing opinions on how much help your parent needs. But if one or more siblings think that no help is needed whatsoever, then a different conversation must be had. Try to do this part ahead of any holiday gatherings so that you can plan your next step.

Plan for Your Conversation

Having serious conversations during the holidays isn’t easy. Take the opinions you receive from your siblings, think about what they said, and arrange for a time to meet and discuss the issues in person that’s convenient for everyone, like while everyone is in town for the holidays. It’s not unheard of for parents to change within a short period of time. Your siblings may think that everything is fine. This conversation is your opportunity to prove that your parents require more help.

Demonstrating a Need for Care

Emotions can run high during a conversation like this. To help prove why your parents require more care, bring medical records and other documentation with you. If you’ve been the only one taking care of your parents, staying calm while presenting the case for care might be difficult. But stay calm, even if your siblings begin to push back against the idea that your parents need help. Use the documentation you have to show them why assistance is necessary. It will be harder for them to deny it with hospital reports and notes from doctor’s visits to support your requests.

Be Realistic

Accepting that your aging parents require help is a big step. But it’s only one aspect of the conversation. Your siblings may or may not be willing to help based on their circumstances. Even for those that want to help, actually being able to provide assistance long-distance may not work. You only have so much control over the situation. Meet your siblings where they are and ask them to take control of the things they are capable of doing.

Lower Standards

Everyone sets high expectations for themselves. But the same cannot be said when caring for an aging parent. It’s stressful and overwhelming. Every sibling will have a different way to care for your parents. As long as the work gets done and your parents’ needs are met, how you provide care compared to the way your siblings do doesn’t matter.

Seek Professional Help

If everyone could be a caregiver, professional caregivers would be unnecessary. But caring for an aging parent is hard. Hiring a professional caregiver may be the best way to give your parents the care they deserve and minimize pressure on everyone. When the distance between your siblings and parents is a factor, hiring a caregiver may be the most practical option.

The agency you decide to work with will evaluate your parents to identify what their needs are and recommend services based on their findings. Outside input may help put any doubts about the need for care to rest.

If your family is searching for the best way to care for your aging parents in the Baltimore, MD area, reach out to Vital Sign Home Care. Our team of care experts will be happy to walk you through the services we offer. Reach out to us today!

Venus Ricks, RN CM/DN

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