The issue of caregiving for parents can be a source of disagreement among siblings, which is one of the reasons why teamwork is important to achieving optimal results. Involving the entire family in the planning of a caregiving plan for your parents will get everyone participating equally. Here is a guide on how to achieve family teamwork in caregiving.
Start with Early Family Meetings
It’s best to start planning for caregiving before there’s a crisis as that might cause a rush and leave one sibling to do most of the caregiving tasks. Schedule a meeting with everyone in the family early before your parents need help. Learn about your parent’s needs in the meeting and you and your siblings can help in meeting their needs as they age. Meet as regularly as you can to create a plan before the need arrives.
Talk About Caregiving Responsibilities
Share the caregiving responsibilities with everyone while also naming a primary caregiver. Even though it isn’t necessary now, the caregiver needs to be available on standby when the time comes. Decide who is responsible for what and how each caregiving role and task complements one another.
Encourage Everyone to Voice Their Concerns
After learning about your parents’ needs as they age, it’s important for each sibling to voice out their own concerns to the rest of the family. Remember that everyone is entitled to their feelings and shouldn’t be judged for sharing them. While you may not be comfortable with handling your parent’s finances, another sibling may not be comfortable providing hands-on care with a parent.
Consider Your Strengths When Sharing Roles
Each sibling’s area of strength should determine what they will be responsible for. Consider their skill and area of interest and how they can use the skill to help in a crisis. Who is good at supervising and leading others? Who is good at gathering information and updating everyone on changing conditions? Who is best at doing numbers, such as keeping track of bank statements, insurance policies, and other financial tasks? Your answer to each question can help to determine what each sibling will be handling.
Consider Your Limits too
While assigning tasks based on strengths, make sure you consider each sibling’s limits as well. For siblings who are not living close by, consider how often they can afford to travel down when there is a crisis. How calm and assertive can each of you be when communicating with your parents from a distance? Also, you need to consider how the caregiving plan can affect your work and personal life. It’s important to acknowledge how much you can take and what you are willing to do to help.
Making It Work
Everything may not turn out perfect at first but teamwork can build up over time with the effort that each family member puts into it. Ensure adequate communication at all times and take time to acknowledge what’s working and what isn’t. Some siblings may also need help to fulfill their caregiving tasks and that’s fine, with everyone helping out, teamwork will become a habit and caregiving won’t have to be a burden to just one person.
Consider A Retirement Community
If you do realize at any point that your parent might need more than just home care, it may be time to move them into a retirement community such as Discovery Commons Cypress Point, which provides programs such as Assisted Living or Memory Care, depending on the type of assistance they need.