Getting Everyone Involved

My father died almost a year ago and now my brothers and I are seeing rapid changes in my mother.  She needs more and more help from us for her to stay independent.  My frustration is that it seems I’ve been chosen for doing most of the care giving even though I still work part-time and have a daughter in high school.  My brothers are retired and have grown children.  How can I get them to help me? 

Sandy, Chico

Dear Sandy, 

Your story is a familiar one!  Often one sibling is assumed to be the caregiver even though there was never a family meeting to talk about sharing this role, and 80% of the time, it is the woman who is assumed to carry this responsibility for the siblings.  I would hope that you could ask for a family meeting with your brothers and grandchildren.  It is best to have a list of the areas for which your mother needs help and let each family member decide which responsibility they can take.  For example, my brother handled all my father’s legal affairs.  Another brother and I took care of the health related issues such as doctor appointments.  Take notes at the meeting and send each family member a summary of what you agreed upon so that each person is clear about how they will help your mother.  Family unity is so important when caring for an aging parent.  If you need more guidance, please let me know. 

Sincerely,  Lyn