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Checklist for Sibling Family Caregivers

Checklist For sibling family caregivers

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December 22, 2010

The following checklist can help siblings better manage the care of their senior loved ones.

  • Identify and list the needs that your senior loved ones have that will enable them to remain independent and avoid family conflict throughout the aging process. Tasks to consider include meals, housekeeping, scheduling doctor appointment, bill paying, grocery shopping and companionship. Key needs include:

    • Medical
    • Housing
    • Activities of daily living
    • End-of-life including advance directives such as living will and long-term care
    • Estate planning and funeral planning
  • Research the options that can help you meet those needs.

  • Divide the needs of your senior: those needs that will be met by family members and those that will be contracted.

    • Divide the tasks so that each family member has input in the process.
    • Make sure the tasks fit the needs of your siblings as well as your senior loved one.
  • List the tasks for which those in your family will be responsible. Remember to keep the list flexible for the changing needs of your senior as well as the demands on you and your siblings. You'll need a plan and overseer as well if you're contracting outside services.

  • Promote sibling teamwork and decision-making by including in your plan regular times to stay in touch with your siblings to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding.

    • Make sure no one is doing too much. If you are the primary caregiver, ask for help if you need it. If you are a long-distance caregiver, ask for ways to help the primary caregiver. Long-distance caregivers can help facilitate online orders and bill-paying, as well as provide companionship through telephone calls, letters and emails.

Please download the guide: 50-50 Rule® Brochure (PDF 950K).

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. February 20, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Posted by Patty

    I have two sisters and following what I thought would be good idea to have a family meeting and lay out all our choices, we agreed upon sharing time with mom of 4 months equally. Well the older sister has finally answered my questions of when can she do her part. She was able to tell me that she doesn't see moms needs as urgent and she is too busy with work. And that she does not want to care for her 4 months. I have two children and two jobs. The neither of my sisters work. I feel as though I have to walk away from that sibling relationship because it makes me so angry. While I respect her decision to not want to be involved she could have told me before I exhausted myself with 10 months straight with mom. She will need to respect my decision to not include her in any decision making. She does not want to participate, I am done with her. I am now trying to accept this new role I have to part time care. I am grateful I have another sister to help me. As far as I am concerned, I feel good about the person I am and if she can sleep at night, then good for her.


  2. February 2, 2015 at 9:32 am | Posted by C

    My hubby and I do it ALL! My long distance sibs feel they are totally "off the hook". Even when we had an emergency and I asked for help I was told I "had no right to place expectations on them". There isn't the slightest thought that I could use help or a break, or even kind words. They are not even a safe place to vent my fatigue and frustrations. One is critical and brings in a lot of strife. When I try to discuss this, incredibly poor listening skills are very evident. It's all about them, their excuses, not our joint responsibilities to our parents. I was getting so worn out so have taken a break from our relationships. Sad. I miss them, but not the stress they added to my exhaustion. Its waaaay easier to do it all and have no relationship, than deal with the snarky unkindnesses on ongoing basis. Have to reserve my emotional energies. I have found a group of great encouragers and listenersthat have "been there".


  3. December 10, 2014 at 7:49 am | Posted by Vickie

    I have twelve siblings. One of my sisters has been handicapped since a child due to an auto accident and she needs care which my Mom has always provided. My mother now has alzheimers and LB dementia and needs someone with her constantly. I asked for years for help with appts and care for my Mom and sister from my siblings. Finally, I quit my job and started soming into their home to care for them daily because no one would help me. Last January, I moved them both into my home, hoping to make things easier to care for both of them. I asked for help on weekends to get a break and they still won't help. A few of them will watch them for a short period if I need to go to an appt., but no one will give me a planned time to get some time for myself. I have stopped asking and have gotten very bitter over the fact that they won't help. They want me to keep them informed on Moms finances and health but I don't feel I owe them anything since they wont help out with her care.


  4. December 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Posted by Ron Brodsky

    As the saying goes one Mother can take care of 5 Children..But..5 Children can't take care of one Mother!


  5. September 4, 2014 at 8:47 am | Posted by Andrea

    Asking for help does not obligate the askee TO help. I've asked a zillion times, only to be given a flat "no we can't help" in answer.


  6. December 17, 2013 at 6:11 am | Posted by Cathy McHenry

    I am in a deteriorating situation involving my sisters since my mother became ill in 2012. I am the youngest and both myself and my middle sister moved home to help both of our parents when our mother suddenly had to have her entire stomach removed at age 66. Since then, my father has passed away but even though she doesn't help much with moms care, my sister continues to live with us, doesn't work or have plans of seeking a job and it is wearing both my mother and I down. We feel like prisoners in our own home! I am trying to get through Christmas without any major confrontations but plan to seek professional help after the holiday. None of us can continue living in this awful situation much longer.


  7. March 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Posted by Sheri

    Sounds very similar to the situation that we, three sisters have w/ our mom, almost 89. Mom lives w/one sister for over a year now. The agreement was that my other sister would have Mom live in her home after 6 mos. Due to health issues w/ this sister, it didn't happen. Mom has to have 24/7 care, parkinsons. I am able to assist on wk-ends. My sister who has mom now is at her wits end w/ a sick husband that needs her too. Baby Sis has agreed to take mom May 1, for one year! We'll see... It is too much confinement for Sis & she has gotten depressed, vowing, never a NH. This has been going on almost 3 years... We need professional counseling, all of us, as it has created a wedge between my sisters that are able to have mom in their homes.


  8. February 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Posted by Darlene

    I have talked to my sister, but she does not feel that she is not doing her part. My husband and I have taken over the bill paying, medicine dispensing, repairs around my mothers' home and driving for the last 4 years since my mom had a small stroke. It was not bad until fall on '09 she had eye surgery and cannot see. After 2 weeks of paying for full time care I flew her up to my sister's until her sight improved so she was there about 6 months. Since then my sister has acted like she has done her part. She has only been down once this past year and even though my husband and I got our vacation interrupted last summer due to my mom having to have emergency eye surgery she has yet to offer to come down for a week or so so my husband and I can get away. In the meantime we have also been dealing with my husband's mom(97) who just recently was put in a nursing home due to it not being safe for her at home. I love my mom and my mother-in-law, but am about at the end of my rope as far as stress.


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