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Talking With Siblings About Senior Care: Sibling Communication

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After finding many of the light bulbs burned out in your 86-year-old parents' house, you believe that they're beginning to need more assistance. As the oldest of five children in the family, how do you approach your siblings? What other resources can you tap into?

Siblings can be a good reality check. You might say to a brother or sister, "I think that Mom and Dad may be having problems changing their light bulbs. Have you noticed anything?" But it's important not to get involved in a group-think cycle where the siblings all start seeing problems and building grand disaster scenarios. If a parent needs a little more help around the house, that shouldn't result in siblings picking out a nursing home and putting their parents' house on the market. Perhaps all the parents need is a little extra assistance. Go to your Home Instead office or Area Agency on Aging for resources that can help. A geriatric care manager also can be of benefit.

Research: Nearly three- fourths (71 percent) of respondents said it would be helpful to involve siblings in talking with parents, while nearly half (49 percent) said seeking counsel from a senior-care professional would be useful.

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Last revised: December 7, 2010

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