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From the Neighborhood Press

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A Sibling’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents

Although your parents may say they are doing fine when you call, your visit may reveal that is not the case. You may notice your parents struggling with new challenges like memory lapses, shortness of breath, and shaky balance, or they may seem to need additional support with daily tasks like medication management.

Your sibling’s reactions to these situations may vary from yours, but the next thing on everyone’s mind is often how to care for your aging parents and who should be around to help out. While the answer can sometimes be obvious, some circumstances can make this a tough decision. 

The first step to caring for aging parents is often open communication with your siblings and your parents about your parents’ needs and the possible options for support. Knowing you aren’t alone and there are options like assistance care can make all the difference. 

Providing the support aging parents need can be a challenge for family caregivers, but you don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes, you or your siblings can’t take on the responsibility full-time. For those situations, assisted living services can be a helpful form of support.

Caring for an aging parent can be a shared responsibility between you, your siblings, and other senior care professionals. 

Getting on the Same Page as Your Family

Clear, open, honest communication strategies can help you, your siblings, and your parents understand each other’s needs and goals, so you can get on the same page about the support your parents may need, how each member of your family can help, and the role that other forms of support can play in your parents’ daily lives.

When you’re speaking with your family, try the following strategies to help keep your conversations about your parents’ care open, honest, and constructive. 

Focus on Open, Effective Communication

Strong feelings often further complicate already complex situations. It’s important to communicate openly and calmly with all who are involved to see what they want, what concerns exist, and what sacrifices or compromises may be beneficial. Taking emotion out of the situation can make all the difference.

Active listening and focusing on clear, calm communication when addressing the needs of your siblings and parents can help you understand their point of view, see the bigger picture, and work together on a solution that can work for everyone. 

Create Space for Everyone’s Interests 

The interests of your siblings and parents are often what motivates them, and it can be helpful to look for solutions that support each person’s interests. Shifting the focus of your conversations to your family’s interests can help you find solutions everyone can agree on. 

Assisted Living as an Option

The goal of assisted living services is based on meeting the unique needs of people who require assistance with daily living to help them live well. The different levels of care provided through assisted living can vary but generally involve a combination of accommodations, support services, and health care support.

Seeking support from assisted living services can help aging parents enjoy life with happiness and independence. We encourage our residents to engage with their families and socialize with others through different forms of assistance for daily living and social activities.

How to Work with Your Siblings When Caring for Aging Parents

The reality of caring for aging parents is that there isn’t a universally applicable solution, and every family is different. A strategy involving several siblings may be the right solution for your family, but it can also be a challenge to keep everyone equally involved.

It’s important to communicate openly and work together with your parents and siblings. The idea that 1 particular sibling is in charge of the care of aging parents can often lead to conflicts. Sharing caregiving among siblings can foster cooperation and support and enhance relationships and communication throughout a family. 

In some cases, meeting with your family to discuss the circumstances of each family member may prove helpful. Some of the details you may want to consider include: 

  • Where each person lives
  • Each person’s goals and responsibilities
  • Each person’s existing obligations
  • The overall health of each family member 

A group of smiling seniors sitting outside with a nurse and looking directly at the cameraSupport for Aging Parents from Sommerset Neighborhood

If you choose to include an assisted living community in your care plans for your aging parents, we can help you discuss your needs and find the right option for support at Sommerset Neighborhood.

It’s important that you feel comfortable in your decision to choose assisted living services. When you visit us, you can take the time to explore our community by viewing a model home, speaking with our residents, and speaking with our staff about all your questions. 

Book a tour today to visit us and learn about the support we can provide for aging parents!

A senior man and his daughter in a park, smiling and looking directly at the camera

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