Home Health Care News

The 50-50 Rule: Real Life Situations (Part 4)

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Distance can be challenging for a family caregiver and other family members. Research reveals that proximity is an important factor that defines a caregiver. But geography doesn’t have to divide. Here’s how to stay on top of a situation.

Hometown Caregiver

You were thrilled to assume ownership of the family business when your brothers and sisters moved away. But you didn’t bargain that you would have all the responsibility for Dad’s care. You know your siblings care; they call and send money. But it’s getting to be too much. What can you do?

First and foremost, you must take action before you begin to resent your siblings. Keep your brothers and sisters informed about how your father is doing, appreciating that they will form their own opinions about him, based on their relationship and contact with him.

If you have specific needs, let your siblings know what they are. Are you in the market for time away? If so, respite care might be the ticket. Perhaps you could arrange a schedule so your brothers and sisters can visit your father and you can take a break. Why not present the idea to a sibling who you think would be the most understanding and receptive to helping. “You know, sis, I love taking care of Dad and am so appreciative of the support of the family, but sometimes it gets to be too much. What do you think about developing a plan where you could coordinate your visits with weekends where I can use extra help or take time away myself?”

If your father’s needs start to translate into expenses, let your siblings know and indicate whether you are requesting financial support from them or letting them know that your father’s money is being spent to meet these needs. No surprises later on will keep sibling relationships conflict-free. If your father says he will repay your efforts through family inheritance, suggest that he let your siblings know as well. If he doesn’t, you might consider mentioning it so there are no surprises down the road.

In The Dark

Since you moved hundreds of miles from home for a great job, your sister has assumed the care of your parents. But you feel left out. Every time you ask, she says not to worry, she has it covered. How do you react?

There are few things worse than feeling left out. First, identify what you really want from this situation. Would more contact with your parents help? Have you made an effort to reach out to your parents first? If they are capable of speaking to you, consider making regular contact by telephone – once a week, for instance – to touch base about what is going on in your life and theirs. If dementia or hearing problems get in the way, why not consider mailing something every week. If your mother likes to read newspaper clippings or your dad collects stamps, send them items regularly to show them that you are thinking of them. This will help you feel more involved.

Caring for a parent is a different issue. If you are not home very often, the day-to-day life events are not a part of your relationship with your parents or your sister. It may not be fair to impose your preferences on the sister who is meeting your parents’ regular needs. Perhaps your feelings of frustration have more to do with childhood rivalries. But it’s important to be honest with your sister.

Speak openly with your sister about your feelings and let her know you want to be more involved in your parents’ lives. “I just feel so out of touch here. Would it be okay if I called you after Mom and Dad’s doctor appointments to find out how they are? Or, if you wouldn’t mind, could I talk with the doctor myself?” Also find out what your sister might need. You may be surprised when she actually tells you she could use an extra hand. Things you could offer to help with from a distance include ordering items your parents might need online and having these things shipped to your parents’ house, setting up automatic bill paying for your mom and dad, and helping your sister keep track of their appointments.

Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

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p) 843. 357. 9777
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11746 Hwy 17 Bypass, Suite B
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576