Overcoming family conflict while caring for aging parents

By March 18, 2011

You may not have much in common with your siblings now that you’re grown. But there’s still one thing you share: your mom and dad. A new local program — the 50-50 RuleSM — offers strategies for overcoming sibling differences to help families provide the best care possible for elderly parents.

“Any family that has cared for a senior loved one knows that problems working with siblings can lead to family strife,” said Tom Suharik, owner of the local Home Instead Senior Care office in Woodland, which serves Yolo and upper Solano counties. “Making decisions together, dividing the workload and teamwork are the keys to overcoming family conflict.”

The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age — 50 — when siblings are caring for their parents as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share 50-50 in the plans for care. Research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network reveals that an inability to work together often leads to one sibling becoming responsible for the bulk of caregiving in 43 percent of families. And that can result in the deterioration of relationships with brothers and sisters, a news release said.

“If you’re 50, have siblings and are assisting with the care of seniors, it’s time to develop a plan,” Suharik said. “This program can help.”

The 50-50 Rule public education program features a free guide on family relationship and communication with real-life situations and practical advice from sibling relationships expert Dr. Ingrid Connidis from the University of Western Ontario.

“Like all relationships, siblings have a history,” Connidis said in the news release. “Whatever happened in the past influences what happens in the present. Regardless of their circumstances, most siblings do feel a responsibility to care for parents that is built from love. And that’s a good place to start — optimistically and assuming the best.”

For more information about this free guide and other resources, call (530) 666-0613 or visit www.solvingfamilyconflict.com.

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Neb., the Home Instead Senior Care network is the world’s largest provider of non-medical, in-home care services for seniors, with more than 900 independently owned and operated franchises in 14 countries spanning four continents.

Home Instead Senior Care local offices employ more than 65,000 care givers who provide more than 40 million hours of client service each year through activities including companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, errands and shopping.

Home Instead founders Paul and Lori Hogan “pioneered franchising in the non-medical senior care industry and are leading advocates for senior issues throughout the world,” the news release said.

Special to The Enterprise

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