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How to Work with Your Family to Care for Your Senior Parent

A caregiver placing their hand over their loved one’s arm.

Being a caregiver for your aging parent can be challenging at times. The truth is, even the best caregivers need some help from time to time. And it's natural to start with your siblings and other family members.  

But how are you supposed to go about asking for their help? While caregiving might seem more complex as you add more people to help out, it can actually improve your well-being and your loved one’s, too. Yet family dynamics can be tough to navigate. After all, no two families are the same, and you want to avoid any conflict or stress.  

If you need help caring for your senior parent, you shouldn't wait. In this post, we're going to give you advice on how to work with your family to care for your loved one.

5 Ways to Get Your Family to Help with Caregiving

1. Start by Talking to One Family Member

There's no reason to gather all your family together at once and talk to them about helping right away. A good place to start is to choose one family member and have an honest conversation.  

Keeping this first conversation more private will help prevent anyone from getting stressed or defensive. Do your best to make the conversation productive by avoiding blame and being honest. Make sure you discuss:  

  • Why you need more help caring for your senior parent.  
  • Ask what she/he is interested in helping with the most.   
  • Tell him/her what would be the most helpful for you.  
  • Discuss the best way to loop in other family members.  

2. Make a List of Your Caregiving Tasks

If your family members are going to help, you'll have to give them some caregiving responsibilities. But it can be hard to think of everything off the top of your head. Make a list of all the caregiving tasks you do for your parent.  

An easy way to make this list is to jot down each task during your normal caregiving routine. This will save you from worrying that you left something out and give your family a more accurate look at everything you do. Once you have a list, your family members can pick tasks that fit with their schedule.

3. Be Specific and Tell Them How You’re Feeling

When you're the primary caregiver for your senior parent, it's easy to assume that other family members know what's going on. But if they don't hear from you, they might think that everything is fine.  

For example, you might assume that your brother should take your parents to their doctor appointments. And when your brother doesn’t offer, you might get frustrated which puts a strain on your relationship.  

Be specific and up front about how you're feeling. If you practice open communication, you'll be less likely to run into the example above. If you need help with your loved one's care, speak up and tell your family what's going on.

4. Keep Your Family Informed

When a family member doesn't know what's going on with your senior parent, they can feel excluded. For example, hearing about an important doctor’s appointment a few weeks after it happened can create frustration. Plus, if your family members don't have a clear picture of what's occuring, they might not be willing to help.  

But you can solve this problem by sharing important information. Make sure they know about:

  • Your parents’ doctor appointments.  
  • What their daily routine looks like.  
  • Any common problems that have come up.  
  • A list of the medications they are currently taking.

5. Hold a Family Meeting

Now that you've set the groundwork, it's time to gather everyone for a family meeting. The goal of this meeting is to ensure that everyone has a clear picture of the situation. Remember, everyone is here to work out conflicts, not to create them.  

Once everyone is on the same page, it's up to you as the primary caregiver to get your family started on creating a care plan. Do your best to give everyone a turn to speak and to feel heard. As the primary caregiver, the rest of your family will be counting on you to share all the information you can.

Find Expert Senior Care at Willow Brook

There might come a time when your parent needs more care than you and your family provide. If that happens, Willow Brook can offer your family peace of mind knowing that your loved one is cared for each day and has access to 24-hour services.   

Our assisted living and memory care services offer a compassionate and personalized approach. It's our goal to find the right balance between expert care and independence for your senior parent. Contact us today to learn more about how our services support caregivers and their families.