There’s a great deal of anger in the world of family caregiving over siblings who don’t help care for their aging parents. Very often, it’s the adult child who lives closest to Mom and Dad who ends up assuming the role of primary caregiver, especially in cases where some degree of hands-on care is required. While this may be a logistically sound arrangement, it doesn’t mean this adult child is best suited emotionally, financially, or practically for the job. Even the most well-prepared caregiver needs assistance and reinforcements from time to time. If one’s siblings cannot be physically present, they should be able to help financially, with paperwork, or in some other remote capacity. They should do something, but they often don’t. Many times, it’s because siblings just don’t want to be bothered. They assume that the brother or sister who’s closest has things under control, and they don’t have a clue about how much time, effort, and sacrifice are involved in caregiving. While MIA siblings are the overwhelming norm, some families have very different experiences. This article offers a glimpse into another perspective on caregiving: that oft-maligned long-distance sibling may actually be excluded by primary caregivers.
Why Some Caregivers Prefer Going It Alone: There are countless reasons why some family caregivers wind up being solely responsible for their aging parents’ care. It’s important to understand that every family’s dynamics and history are unique, and each family member has their own reasons and motivations for choosing to participate in or walk away from caregiving. I’ve spoken with many siblings who have felt barred from receiving updates and partaking in decision-making. These...
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