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How can I give my sibling a break from caregiving when I live far away?

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Photo credit Meghan Holmes

Q: How can I give my sister a break from taking care of our elderly dad when I live hundreds of miles away? She refuses to let me help, because she has always been controlling. Its her way or the highway, but she needs a break. 

A: I'm glad you wrote to tell "the other side." This is not so unusual. Caregivers know the person they are caring for is used to the way they do things and will be upset by change, yet they desperately need a break from their duties.  As is often the case, sibling issues from childhood can get to be part of the situation, as well. This sounds a bit like what is happening here. If your sister has always been controlling, this is another way to control. But she does need a break, though she may truly feel she is doing what is best for your father.

Continue reading on Agingcare to learn more about the tricky balance of respecting the need of the primary hands-on caregiver to keep thigns calm wiht the elder and their need for a break AND your need to be part of the caregiving: 

Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

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