Home Health Care News

The 50-50 Rule: Real Life Situations (Part 6)

Overworked, Underappreciated

Research reveals that one sibling can get stuck with all the work when it comes to caring for Mom and Dad. If you’re feeling stressed by the caregiving load, you’re not alone. And it’s time to speak up.

Caregiver Stress

You just received the big promotion you’ve always dreamed of and, as the youngest and as the one Mom likes best, you have taken over the job of her care since she fell. You’re struggling with depression and resentment because your brothers and sisters won’t step up to help. What do you do?

Caregiver stress can have serious ramifications for the lives of family caregivers. According to a survey conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network, 42% of family caregivers say they spend more than 30 hours a week providing care. That’s the equivalent of a second job. This sounds like the situation you are in.

Sometimes siblings have a different view of what constitutes help. Some siblings may not agree with the form of help the primary caregiver thinks is necessary. There may be a disagreement about what the parents need, what they’re able to do or the best course of action. Those siblings who won’t help are saying, “I won’t help on your terms.” Or they may think the primary caregiver is offering too much help. These perspectives also may be the result of what’s happening in a sibling’s life or their relationship with their parents. For example, one sibling may be having problems in their marriage that the family doesn’t know about. It’s not always as simple as, “My sibling is refusing to help.”

You can’t do it all, though, and caregiver stress could lead to serious trouble for you and your job. According to the February 2010 MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs, employees providing eldercare were more likely to report fair or poor health in general.

Call a meeting with all of your siblings and find out if they are willing to discuss the situation. Why not approach siblings with specific requests for advice, input and assistance? A primary caregiver allocating chores may be unpopular. A group putting their minds to the tasks can come up with better solutions. Have a sense of shared situation and responsibility. And talk to your parents. Make sure that they are not telling your siblings that they don’t need help.

Investigate community support options (in-home services, respite care) and use them. Consider hiring paid help if needed. Like all major life transitions, a parent’s need for care is challenging, but is a challenge that can be met.

I’m Drowning

You made the tough decision to give up your career and retire early to move in with Dad. You’re glad you did and your siblings were relieved and appreciate your sacrifice. But you’re lonely. What do you do?

Your situation calls for brutal honesty. You need to tell your siblings how you feel. Practice on a friend if you must work up courage to talk with your siblings. If you don’t think you can get your message out verbally, send them a note or e-mail.

If they respond positively, ask for specific ways that they can help you. A general plea for help may overwhelm your siblings; a specific request may be easier to meet. Before you approach them, think about how they could help you. Make a list of things that your siblings could do that would support you, even if they don’t live close by. Perhaps they could help you find and pay for community resources that would give you a much-needed respite. More frequent visits home also could be an option.

You could be pleasantly surprised. Your brothers and sisters may have been waiting to hear from you, afraid to seem as if they were interfering if they offered unsolicited advice.

When you have the opportunity, get more involved in the community. Set up a Facebook page and reconnect with friends from your past. Then it will be easy to take the next step and schedule coffee or lunch. Contact your local bookstore about joining a book club or invite a friend to dinner. If you were part of a religious community, try to renew acquaintances. Another way to get involved would be to check your local newspaper – print or online – to find out what’s going on in your community each week.

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.

© Home Instead Myrtle Beach
p) 843. 357. 9777
f) 843. 357. 9779
11746 Hwy 17 Bypass, Suite B
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576