Caregiving with your Siblings during the Holidays
The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and rejoicing. But it can be difficult to enjoy the holidays when you’re tasked with taking care of a loved one. When siblings have to take care of their family members during the holidays, it can take a toll, lead to arguments and recriminations, and ruin the holiday spirit.
However, it is possible to maintain positive sibling relationships while including the whole family if you put forth an effort. Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the holidays while fairly distributing care duties among your siblings.
1) Manage Expectations
Sharing caregiving duties with siblings might have some hiccups and misunderstandings among the most loving of families. But, if you’re prepared to experience these things, you can control your temper and avoid escalating arguments. Also, expect that you will be responsible — at least partially — for taking care of your family member at some point over the holidays.
2) Take Charge
If your siblings aren’t stepping up to split caregiving duties, consider taking charge to help make schedules. It’s a good idea to start discovering family availability in mid-October, before the holiday season begins. If you see one of your siblings being tasked with all of the caretaking, they’ll likely be thankful that someone is coming forward to divide things up.
3) Open Lines of Communication
If you haven’t already, make sure everyone has everyone else’s phone number. It’s also a good idea to reminisce about happy times and share some life updates, as well as have your siblings understand that caregiving is a natural part of life. A group text or Facebook message is a good way to do this. If you can, be sure to hear frustrations about the caregiving process as well, so your siblings know that they have a sympathetic ear.
4) Have everyone stick to obligations
Remind people when their turn for caregiving is coming up — or hold family celebrations that incorporate the cared-for family member. But also, be patient if something arises and genuinely takes away from the family member’s ability to care for the other one. Life happens fast, and it’s important to understand when issues arise.
Caregiving during the holidays can cause a lot of stress for all parties involved, but if you approach the situation with communication and compassion, you can make it through the holidays without infringing on one another’s personal boundaries — and also provide happy holidays for your loved one being cared for.