When Elder-Care Duties Lead to Sibling Rivalry

An elderly parent’s health problems can torpedo relationships among brothers and sisters. One of the most common causes of sibling elder-care conflicts is that one sibling winds up taking almost all the responsibility.

Another flash point: Who controls Mom’s or Dad’s money? If one sibling is managing a parent’s finances without oversight, charges of financial abuse can crop up easily. End-of-life care is another point of contention. How much should doctors intervene to keep a parent alive after he or she is on a feeding tube? Or a respirator?

To ward off sibling conflicts, Paula Spencer, senior editor of caring.com, advises having a family meeting to talk about what needs to get done. Education helps too; if you are well-informed on a parent’s illness or caregiving issues, send information to your sibs “so not just one person knows everything,” she says. A “divide-and-conquer” approach can help: Delegate to different siblings various aspects of caregiving such as insurance, respite care, doctor communications, financial affairs, or home maintenance.

Click here to post comments.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Invitation 2