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5 Tips for Caregiving With Your Siblings

Your siblings can be a great source of help and support while caring for a parent who has survived a stroke. They can also cause stress and tension. Follow these five tips to help keep your family working together.

1. Compassion Rules
Providing care to parent who has suffered a stroke is difficult and can elicit a wide range of emotions from all your siblings. Take time to understand what emotions, fears and concerns you and your siblings are facing. This will help you better understand why a sibling may be acting and reacting a certain way. This level of understanding can help to keep conflict to a minimum.

2. Define Roles
Things don’t just work themselves out. You will need to clearly define roles and responsibilities to minimize confusion, stress and resentment. Call a family meeting as soon as possible and discuss what everyone has to offer, whether that is specific skill sets, time, money, organization, location, legal power. Define each person’s role based on how they can best help. Identify gaps in care and agree on solutions. Be sure to revisit roles regularly and adjust as needed.

3. Share Information
As your mother's or father's condition changes share all of your observations, information, formal assessments and reports with each other. Knowledge is powerful and helpful when it comes time to make decisions. Keeping a sibling in the dark or springing information on someone last minute is a sure way to cause stress and conflict.

4. Recognize and Minimize Destructive Behaviors
It is easy to act out and criticize, minimize, generalize, attack or otherwise hurt siblings. Focus on your purpose: to help a parent who has had a stroke. Take a moment to think about your words, calm down and commit to working together to finding a solution for the problem.

5. Please and Thank You
It may seem simple enough, but please and thank you can make a huge difference in your interactions. Caregiving is stressful and creates feelings of being lonely and unappreciated. Those three words help each sibling to feel appreciated and part of a team effort.

By: Stroke-Network.com Staff Writer Amy McCraken

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"Providing care to parent who has suffered a stroke is difficult and can elicit a wide range of emotions from all your siblings"

If you and your siblings are struggling to work together, seek outside help. Turn to clergy, family therapists, social workers, geriatric care managers or physicians. As objective third parties they can help define roles and responsibilities, suggest processes for sharing information and help siblings stay focused on finding solutions.

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