Siblings Sharing Caregiving Duties: The 50/50 Rule

Siblings often face challenges and delicate situations when sharing the duties of caring for an aging parent. Deciding who is responsible for what tasks and costs–and even more sensitive, how assets and inheritance should be divided among children, can cause tension or even create hostile divides between once-close siblings. The Home Instead Senior Care Network has launched a new program, the 50-50 Rule Program, aimed at helping siblings overcome their differences and foster positive communication and relationships while undertaking the difficult challenge of caregiving. Sharing care for elderly parents

The “50” represents the average age of caregivers caring for aging parents. It also represents the idea that adult siblings should divide caregiving responsibilities 50-50. Research conducted for Home Instead reveals that in about 43 percent of families, disagreements and strife related to caregiving results in one sibling handling the majority of care-related tasks. One sibling feeling burdened by the added responsibility can lead to further decline in the relationship. This research indicates that just two percent of siblings in the U.S. split the taks of caregiving equally.

A downloadable guide to resolving family conflict is available on CaregiverStress.com, which offers tips, advice and resources on effectively handling the shared task of caring for an elderly parent. The brochure and the program as a whole encourage adult siblings in a caregiving situation to reach out, communicate and share their stories with others in similar situations through Twitter, Facebook and other social channels.

Ingrid Connidis, Ph.D., a siblings relationship expert from the University of Western Ontario, offers insight into a series of case studies describing real-life situations and offering resources and advice for overcoming each issue. Scattered throughout the brochure are useful statistics related to caregiving and information on relevant research. Further information and useful tools, such as a Checklist for Sibling Family Caregivers, can be found at CaregiverStress.com.

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