December 29, 2010
You were thrilled to assume ownership of the family business when your brothers and sisters moved away. But you didn't bargain that you would have all the responsibility for Dad's care. You know your siblings care; they call and send money. But it's getting to be too much. What can you do?
First and foremost, you must take action before you begin to resent your siblings. Keep your brothers and sisters informed about how your father is doing, appreciating that they will form their own opinions about him, based on their relationship and contact with him.
If you have specific needs, let your siblings know what they are. Are you in the market for time away? If so, respite care might be the ticket. Perhaps you could arrange a schedule so your brothers and sisters can visit your father and you can take a break. Why not present the idea to a sibling who you think would be the most understanding and receptive to helping. "You know, sis, I love taking care of Dad and am so appreciative of the support of the family, but sometimes it gets to be too much. What do you think about developing a plan where you could coordinate your visits with weekends where I can use extra help or take time away myself?"
If your father's needs start to translate into expenses, let your siblings know and indicate whether you are requesting financial support from them or letting them know that your father's money is being spent to meet these needs. No surprises later on will keep sibling relationships conflict-free. If your father says he will repay your efforts through family inheritance, suggest that he let your siblings know as well. If he doesn't, you might consider mentioning it so there are no surprises down the road.
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