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An Anonymous Caregiver’s Take: How to Get Siblings Engaged

My siblings weren’t helping with caregiving for mom and dad, and I was furious. Weren’t they their parents too? Rather than remaining angry and severing family relationships forever, I came to the realization that my anger didn’t help. Then I decided on a different approach to engage siblings who were clearly uncomfortable with hands-on caregiving. Instead of asking them to help with the daily tasks of caregiving, I asked them to help me out by performing tasks that were less threatening and scary for them - but very helpful to me. This, I reasoned, might be a strategy to get them to contribute to the cause - and it worked! Maybe it will help you, too. Although your list may differ, here’re some ideas of tasks that you might delegate to others - especially when they ask, “What can I do?”

  • Take the car to be serviced

  • Sit with parents while I go to the gym, movies, or a medical appointment

  • Clean and organize the pantry, garage, closet, drawers, etc.

  • Pick up the groceries, or medications from the pharmacy

  • Keep relatives and family friends updated on our parents’ health

  • Make meals for the freezer

  • Schedule and/or attend medical appointments

  • Research medications, healthcare products, diseases or local program offerings

  • Complete, submit and follow up on the cumbersome Medicaid, the Veterans Administration’s Aid & Attendance or other applications

  • Research, evaluate and decide on an adult day care program

  • Take me to lunch!

Indulging your siblings’ preferences is probably one of the last things on your mind while caregiving, but trying this just might help.

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