Sibling roles and family dynamics are usually aggravated when there is a nerve-wracking or stressful family dilemma to deal with. Caring for an elderly parent and deciding who does what and how to divide the inheritance can present such a scenario. If not handled properly, these questions can lead to rancorous divided among once-close siblings. Here are several tips on reducing the tension and arriving at productive healthcare decisions:
Hold a meeting. It is important, especially as the health situation of the care receiver goes through a change, to have the siblings get together and hold a meeting to discuss further options. Family dynamics are unique to each family and stressful situations will aggravate already strained sibling relationships, therefore, it is of utmost importance to have all opinions and options voiced at a family meeting. This may help reduce tension and maybe even engender closeness and unity. For help in facilitating this type of meeting, you may consider contacting a social worker, geriatric care manager or a professional mediator.
Divide the responsibilities. Keep in mind the 50/50 rule. A study conducted for Home Instead found that in about 43% of families, disagreement and hostility resulted from one sibling shouldering the lion’s share of the caregiving burden. Did you know that senior caregiving can either bring families closer together or cause sibling conflict and in most cases, it can do both. In order for all family members to be involved and contribute to the care of their elderly or disabled relative, it is important to divide the responsibilities according to personal preferences. For example, one family member can offer to do the cooking several times a week while the other may take dad or mom to doctor’s appointments.
Get respite. Take care of yourself and you will be a better care giver. Respite care is a program designed to provide family caregivers with temporary relief from day-to-day caregiving. There are also many non-profit and private companies that offer respite assistance, including in-home assistance, adult day services or a temporary stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility. You can also reach out to friends and neighbors or to community volunteer groups who provide this invaluable service. Don’t try to be superman or let guilt drive you to insanity; nobody expects that of you and one needs to know when to accept help.
Get Medicaid. Getting Medicaid to pay for long-term care for your loved can solve many financial as well as sibling rivalry woes. For those below the asset and income bracket, Medicaid may cover nursing home, assisted living or even in-home care, depending on the state and on the circumstances of the beneficiary. The intricacies of Medicaid eligibility are beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that extreme caution and day-to-day experience with the workings of Institutional Medicaid and Global Options are necessary in order to ensure eligibility. Many times, a company experienced in Medicaid planning that can take you by the hand and guide you through the maze of ‘countable assets’ and ‘excludable assets’, such as Senior Planning Services, is the best way to go
Conclusion: Caregiving for a loved one has the ability to enhance or destroy the family unit. With proper planning, good communication and, sometimes, professional intervention, the former can be achieved.