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Keeping the Peace in Family Caregiving

imgres-1For many siblings, elder care comes as part of a team effort. Typically, there is a captain of the team who takes on the primary caregiver role and responsibility. Other players may take on the role of an offensive line and assist with tasks such as finances or transportation while other siblings may take on more of a spectator role and cheer on the team from the stands.

Often, siblings acting as the "spectator" may find it difficult to know their role in the caregiving process. With factors like distance or time playing a role in a sibling's ability to be involved in the care of their aging parent, it's appropriate for this person to be kept in the loop regarding their parent's care. However, it can also be difficult to find a balance to staying involved without feeling that the Captain of the team - the primary caregiver in our case - is being questioned.

Finding ways to communicate amongst sibling care team members can be an ongoing struggle in the caregiving process. But with proper preparations, an open and honest line of communication and the help of an outside voice such as an elder care agency using a home care software or home care system, keeping the team in check can be a more manageable task.

Communicate Openly: Feeling like one sibling is keeping secrets from the other can grow resentment and anger. From the beginning of an elder care experience, try to keep an open line of communication with siblings. For those taking on a more hands-off role, let the primary caregiver know that while you're not always directly involved in care, you are also concerned about your parent's wellbeing and talk about what information you'd like to share on a regular basis. If a home care agency is assisting with care, a home care software or home care system like ClearCare Online can help an immense amount in this arena. With features like a Family Room built into an agency's home care software, even family members a world away can access home care schedules, care updates and family to-do calendars via a secure log-in to the home care system.

Reach Out: Sometimes, those "Team Captains" need a break. When you can, offer to lend a hand with the hands on caregiving. Even if in person activities, such as bathing or meal preparation make you uncomfortable, tasks like helping with grocery shopping or organizing transportation to medical appointments can help ease the burden of the sibling taking the lead on caregiving. You may also be able to help by working with your family to help find a reliable, reputable home care provider who uses a home care software or home care system, like ClearCare Online, to manage their agency.
Be a Team Player: No matter your role in the care of your elderly parents, make an effort to be a positive team player. Dwell on what your siblings are doing right in their efforts to care for your parents, and approach potential changes gently. For primary caregivers, it's also important to be open to advice and help from other family members as they offer it in an effort to ease your burden.

Family caregiving is a team sport - with other caregivers, elder care agencies using a home care software or home care system and resources from throughout the community. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the same to help seniors age with grace.

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