For adult siblings who find themselves caring for their elderly parents, whether as hands on caregivers or by finding the proper outside medical team, having these positions can cause a lot of stress and conflict. Brothers and sisters might have different ideas about how to care for mom or dad and might not have the patience or the skills for compromise or proper communication among themselves. There might be one particular sibling who acts as a leader but can push their ideas too strongly onto their siblings. Another cause of conflict is when one sibling feels like they are providing most or all of the care and feel resentment towards the siblings they feel are not doing their fair share. This sibling is usually the one who lives closest to the elderly parents.
Sometimes being put into the position of caregiver can bring up many years of arguments and hurt feelings. In some families, mom or dad might have had a favorite child, and the other siblings might still resent that child and believe they should take on the bulk of the parental care.
Other topics that can induce stress onto families include:
1.Illness family members might have to make decisions about long term care or treatments for illness or disease
2.Finances adult siblings might have to provide some financial assistance to their parents, which can be very uncomfortable if the siblings have different financial situations themselves (i.e. the rich sibling will be expected to pay more)
3.Inheritances on the flip side, wealthy families might have to contend with inheritance issues including prior knowledge of uneven distributions from the will or estate.
Even adult siblings who have good relationships with each other should be prepared for added stress when caring for their elderly parents. One of the best ways to deal with this stress is to address issues as they arise and not let any resentment or tension build into a boiling point. Outside counseling or guidance from a social worker can help ease these tensions and make the whole family, including mom and dad, happy.