Getting Along to Care for Mom – by Barry Jacobs

If you share caregiving responsibilities with siblings, these tips can help

Courtesy of AARP | 07.29.2013 | Barry Jacobs

My brother and I, normally close, have had a strained relationship for the past 18 months. The cause is sad but common: We don’t agree on the roles each of us should play in caring for our aging mother.

As the older (and, in my mind, wiser) brother, I took the lead in moving our mother from Florida to an apartment near my Pennsylvania home. I think I know what’s best for her — and what my brother and I should each provide her. He lives 350 miles away and has a different take on her well-being: He doesn’t think she needs as much help as I do, so he’s less willing to make the sacrifices I think he should.

Senior mother and two daughters. Sibling relationships and caregiving.
Beware that caregiving disagreements don’t create resentments that cause long-term relationship damage. — Golden Pixels/Alamy

Like many adult siblings in caregiving situations, our disagreement has taken on the cast of old childhood dynamics.

In his mind, I’m still playing the bullying older brother who has always tried to dictate to him. In my mind, he’s still the stubborn younger brother who won’t live up to his family responsibilities.

Pulling together to care for Mom or Dad makes some adult siblings as close as comrades-in-arms.

In my clinical experience, however, many sibling disagreements over what needs to be done (and who should do it) create resentments that frequently simmer, occasionally explode and invariably cause long-term damage. If you’re sharing a caregiving role with one or more siblings, these tips may help:  Continue Reading

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