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Top Five Sibling Caregiver Hot Buttons


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December 22, 2010

Family caregivers know all too well the sensitive issues that can send brothers and sisters into turmoil. Family caregiving may be stressful under any circumstances. But certain situations are hot button triggers. These events can make the life of caregiving siblings more difficult and lead to family conflict.

The 50-50 Rule® public education program can help address the following hot-button issues with effective communication skills:

  1. Illness: A senior loved one who becomes ill or faces declining health can leave a family facing all sorts of potentially difficult issues. Who provides the additional care? Is there a team approach or does one sibling bear the brunt of the caregiving? Family members' differing opinions and the changing needs of a senior can exacerbate the situation.

  2. Money: Money matters often complicate life for seniors as well as their adult children. The recent recession left many older adults depleted of their savings while others may be outliving their nest eggs. Families can be forced to make tough caregiving decisions when their love ones' finances factor into the equation.

  3. Inheritance: While some families contend with a lack of funds to provide care for their loved ones, others have the temptation of a family inheritance influencing their decisions. If one sibling is encouraging a parent to spend the siblings' inheritance and another is coaxing that parent to save the money, trouble is sure to ensue.

  4. Distance: While absence may make the heart grow fonder, it certainly doesn't make life easier for a family caregiver. The siblings who live in the same town or city as their parents may be stuck with most of the caregiver work. According to research conducted for the Home Instead Senior® network, one sibling is responsible for the bulk of the care of mom and dad in more than 40 percent of families. Siblings who live far away can feel left out or, if they do speak up, viewed as intruders by the primary family caregiver.

  5. Stress: Life is stressful and family caregiving oftentimes makes it more so. Adult caregivers who have started a new job, are raising children or caring for their own spouse can soon become overwhelmed when elderly family members need help. Those who are bearing the brunt of caregiving may resent siblings who are unable or unwilling to help.

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

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. February 27, 2015 at 3:36 am | Posted by Sandy Carpio

    My boys and I were caregivers for my parents and we took on all the caregiving responsibilities for both my parents. It basically started when I was 19. My mom got very sick. Her blood pressure was 280/180 and had to be rushed to the ER. Long story short, my siblings, who were 37, 35, 33, and 27 made me go in and talk to my mom's doctor. My father did also. The caregiving continued until they passed away in 2008. 3 years after my parents died, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.


  2. July 7, 2011 at 6:19 am | Posted by Letitia

    These pieces really set a standard in the industry.


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