Did you read the July/August 2016 issue of The Family Caregivers’ Grapevine? In this issue we talked about the sibling relationship when caring for aging parents. The sibling relationship can be a difficult one to manage in crisis because old feelings and family roles may surface and hinder your best efforts to handle your parents’ care. Good communication is essential to ensuring that everyone in your family is on the same page.
Here are 7 tips for communicating with your siblings:
- Express your feelings directly using I-statements such as “I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility.” You-statements such as “You don’t help!” can sound accusatory and incite a defensive response from your brother or sister.
- Avoid guilt-trips or passive aggressive behaviour when you perceive that family members could be doing more. It will only cause further harm to the situation.
- Evaluate whether your emotions are suited to the situation at hand, or whether they are the result of past battles or symptoms of burn-out.
- Be clear about how your siblings can help you as the primary caregiver. Make a list of everything that needs to be done to have on hand when you talk to your siblings.
- Accept the limitations of your family members in helping care for your family members. If your brother can`t leave Toronto because of his job, what can he do from afar?
- Keep communication open between your siblings through phone apps, emails, or phone calls. Make a schedule for communication and stick to it.
- Employ the help of a professional counselor before conflict gets out of hand. They can help mediate the situation so everyone feels heard and understood.
Do you have a tip to add? Please let us know in the comments.