Whether you’ve gotten along with your sibling in the past or not, when you start the caregiving process for mom or dad, it brings on a whole new set of challenges and problems. All of a sudden, you find out what your siblings are really thinking. And they hide behind the most damaging words.
“How could you let strangers take care of mom?”
“Dad said he’d rather die than go to a nursing home. You can’t let him go.”
And the fighting begins.
While your parents might, in fact, have said they fear all that happens when they get old, they never intended to push off caregiving solely onto their children. Especially one of their children, splitting the family dynamics apart.
Siblings usually fight for one of two reasons:
- They simply don’t agree.
- They have ulterior motives in mind.
If you’ve always disagreed, the stress of caregiving isn’t going to bring you together.
Yet many siblings get it into their minds that at some point in time, a little inheritance will come their way. And when caregiving costs escalate, that dream can quickly slip away. Even if it is a subconscious dream.
If you’re the one providing care – even part time care – you know how quickly things add up.
You visit the grocery store to pick up a few things for you … and a few things for them.
You stop by the drug store to pick up an item for you … and adult diapers for them.
You take time out from work to tote them to appointments. You no longer have the time to dedicate to time with your own family. You can’t remember when you last took vacation time for a real vacation.
And then your parent takes a turn for the worse. They require even more medical care. It escalates quickly from a few hours a week to a few hours a day. Or worse. And the money quickly adds up.
If you’re the one providing most of the care, the only thing you can do is stand your ground. Keep records of everything you do. If you buy your parents clothing, track it. If you pick up extra food, keep track of that too. If things turn ugly and they start to complain, you’ll have grounds to stand on. And if it escalates, you’ll have the proof you need.
Get counseling or mediation if you need it. Turn to legal help if necessary. And always remember no relationship – even sibling relationships – are worth the cost of your health.