When faced with caring for an aging parent, it’s impossible to escape the feelings of guilt. Guilt is a powerful thing. Guilt will make you question your motives, lash out in anger, cause you sleepless nights, and make you feel like you can never do enough. Know this- guilt is a terrible liar and a relentless thief. Guilt will even cause sibling friction.
The danger of sibling friction? It paralyzes you as a family from moving forward with the best care possible for mom or dad. The bottom line is this, every family member wants the very best care for mom or dad. Just because you may disagree with your family member about the best move forward, doesn’t mean that anyone is wrong or at fault. Just remember, the guilt you’re feeling about making sure your parents are well cared for is felt by your siblings as well.
Nothing is ever easy about watching your parents decline both physically and cognitively. It’s a hard part of life that unfortunately no one is exempt. Here are a few practical words of advice:
- Don’t blame your siblings because their perspective is not your perspective. Although you have the same parents, your view points are bound to collide. Keeping in mind that you all want what is best for your parents will go a long way.
- Remember all siblings are doing their best to help care for your parents. You may feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the care you feel you are giving your loved one, but just remember your siblings are feeling overwhelmed too. You may have no idea how much they are helping, so you should never assume they aren’t doing their part.
- Just because you’re the one in town with mom and dad, doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out for support from your siblings. Our out of town brothers and sisters will feel thankful you are including them in the care of your parents. They are feeling guilt because they can’t be around as often as you are. Don’t add to their guilt.
- Don’t blame your siblings for not being willing to give the same care you feel you are willing to give. Again, you can never be certain how much love and support your siblings are giving.
- Be willing to listen to all family member’s perspective on the best path forward for your loved one’s care. Everyone’s opinion is valuable. When everyone is heard, the best oath forward can be found easier.
- You’re not copping out by asking for an outside source to help with your parent’s care. You can’t do it alone. It can be unreasonable to assume that you and your siblings can meet the needs your parents have on a daily bases. Receiving help from an outside source may be the best alternative for everyone involved.
Don’t let guilt be your guiding light. Everyone at some point or another will be on this journey of caring for a loved one. How you handle the guilt will be a key factor to your parent’s best final years. « Back to Blog