Accidental Caregiver

Caregiver’s Question: As the youngest child, my siblings expect me to stay home and care for mom. They say that they are too busy and that it is my responsibility to care for her.

CB: Family expectations can be so difficult, especially when pressure is placed on one family member to provide care while other family members appear to be uninvolved. The key to managing this issue is to calmly start the conversation about your mother’s needs, expectations and the kind of care she requires. 

  1. Assemble your siblings to discuss how your mother’s needs can be managed by sharing responsibilities in a more fair manner. Be calm and non-judgmental as you each voice your needs, obligations and expectations. Assign duties like taking her to physician appointments, manage bills and household needs while another oversees care at home. Bring in non-medical caregivers to offer relief to the home based sibling. 
  2. Evaluate if home is still the best place for mom. Perhaps a move to assisted living community may be the best option for all involved.
  3. Periodically re-evaluate any plan that so that your mother’s changing needs as well as those of your siblings can be addressed.

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"I’m often asked questions by overwhelmed caregivers to older loved ones, because I’m an Aging Life Care Professional.  I provide Answers, Advocacy and Alternatives to those caregivers; I am an option-maker for the decision-makers who are juggling caregiving with their other life responsibilities."
Charlotte Bishop, MS, CRC, GCM, CCM, LCPC

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