Tensions can arise when Boomer-age children don’t agree on how to care for their parents

All kinds of situations can occur when sons and daughters provide care for their aging parents, and they’re not always good. Research conducted by The Boomer Project – a study involving 383 adults aged 35-64, with living siblings or stepsiblings, who said they either provide care for a parent or older relative, or did provide care in the past 18 months – shows that the overall effectiveness of the entire team of sibling caregivers is directly proportional to four key factors:

1) Their level of teamwork;

2) Their consideration for each other’s ability to help;

3) Their willingness to help each other; and

4) Their ability to make important decisions together.

The study, conducted on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care®, a leading provider of home care, has resulted in a public education program called The 50-50 Rule.

The name of the program refers to the average age when siblings care for their parents, and to the need for brothers and sisters to share the responsibility on a 50-50 basis. The public awareness program also includes advice from Dr. Ingrid Connidis, a leading authority on aging, work-life balance, and family relationships.

If you want more information about the study and the public education program, Home Instead Senior Care has also developed an in-depth handbook free of charge with lots of advice and is available across the country. Visit www.homeinstead.com to find your local office to request a copy of the handbook. For more information and resources go to www.solvingfamilyconflict.com.

siblingsBased on feedback provided from families, many situations involving siblings can arise. Home Instead Senior Care® has identified some of the more common ones which can lead to problems. Along with the situations are solutions for how to resolve them.

Here are some examples:

Money Matters. The economic downturn has taken a toll on many families, straining finances and relationships. Do siblings agree on how to approach money matters when it comes to family caregiving situations? The handbook advises to a pproach your parents and siblings with a sense of working together to find a solution rather than telling them what to do.

What’s Yours is Mine. Inheritances and family mementoes generate powerful emotional and financial attachments. What do you do when siblings don’t agree on the family legacies? The handbook advises to take the high ground and talk to your siblings to find a solution.

Communication Breakdown. This can make a bad caregiving situation worse. If you’re not talking with your siblings, Mom and Dad may be the ones to suffer. The handbook says to speak with your parents face-to-face and ask them to be honest with you about their needs. You may also want to speak to their doctors.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind. Distance can drive a wedge between a family caregiver and other family members, but geography doesn’t have to divide. The handbook says you should t ake action before you begin to resent your siblings, and keep them informed about how your parent is doing.

“Senior caregiving can either bring families together or cause brother and sister conflict,” says Dr. Connidis. “In some cases it can do both. These issues can be very emotional.”