What is a sibling? You can find out in my fast flash sibling video. It is and they are much more than you think. It’s legal, social and blood. Watch the video by clicking the link.
Have you ever had elderly aunt, uncles, and your own parents, who are estranged from their own older siblings? There is a way you can help them reconcile – that is a estranged elder family meeting.
Why is this a great idea?
1.Elderly siblings contribute to another older siblings well being. This is especially true of widows. . Seeing a married sister is the strongest positive effect statically to help both older widows and widowers
2. Older men reconciled with an elderly sister find the greatest sense of emotional security. Women are kid keepers and nurturers so if you have an elderly aunt or uncle estranged from each other- have a family meeting to resole their differences
3. Elderly sisters or sisters of any age have the greatest degree of closeness, support, acceptance and contact of any sibling dyad. They have the least envy and resentment. Reconciling aging sisters can be the best resolution in an older siblings life.
So if you have elderly family members who have cut each other off, don’t talk, are mad about something 50 years ago, schedule a family meeting to bring the deepest, longest most meaningful relationship- their sibling, back in their life.
A midlife sibling summer visit to elderly parents can be sweet or it can be scary. You might go for the family reunion with your midlife siblings, week at the family summer home with or without your midlife siblings, take the young siblings to see your hometown or any holiday visit.
The frightening part often happens when you haven’t seen an aging Mom or Dad for a while. If you live long distance, making an occasional visit can set off alarms, especially if find your aging Mom or Dad has gone down hill.
Here is a checklist to take with you, on your summer visit I have given you ten red flags to watch for when you spend time with aging parents. This means you may have to get out your magnifying glass, like Sherlock Holmes, and really look for clues.
➢ Curb Appeal – Does your Dad’s home look more like an unmaintained rental? Is there disrepair, a weedy yard, uncleaned carpets or furniture?
➢ Housekeeping – Are there dirty dishes, unwashed sheets, a mess where things used to be tidy? Does the house look like it needs a scrubbing, or at least someone to help with cleaning?
➢ Medication – Can you find a stash of outdated medication in the bathroom, bedroom or anywhere?
➢ Driving – Is driving with your older Dad frightening? Ask him to drive you somewhere. How is his reaction time, or judgment? Can he drive at night? Does he have traffic tickets? Assess the car. Is it worse for wear, dented or are there telltale signs of accidents?
➢ Trash- Are there bags of trash in the basement or out back? Look in closets.
➢ Collections- Are there growing collections that appear to be out of control, of newspapers, magazines, old sports memorabilia, ashtrays – any accumulation that appears to be taking over space and looks excessive. This is a sign of hoarding
➢ Shopping- Take him out shopping or out to a meal to celebrate the day. When he does shopping or pays for a meal, does he have problems with checks, credit cards, figuring tips, or calculating discounts? Does he forget his wallet or other important personal items he should have with him?
➢ Change in Behavior- Is Dad quiet when he used to be loud? Is he paranoid, having mood swings, unsocial when he used to be the belle of the ball or life of the party?
➢ Odors- Did you smell urine? Must? Mildew? Dirty clothes or dishes?
➢ Refrigerator- Are there science experiments, aka moldy food in the refrigerator?
If any of these clues turn up trouble, you need talk your midlife siblings about the problems you have discovered and set up a family meeting via Skype, in person or a family conference call. ( see my last blog)
Talk to Mom and Dad, the subject of my next blog.
You may also need to call geriatric care manager for help. They are experts in solving problems with aging parents.
I recently was on a visit with family in Reno and had a windshield crack, I had it replaced by Brite Glass and they did an amazing job, visit them at www.briteglass.com
The heat wave disaster in the east this week should tell you that you need a family meeting about any aging family members in the Midwest or east coast. You need a disaster plan because older people are more likely to die in heat wave disasters like the broiling one this week.
What would be the agenda of that disaster family meeting?
1) Create a disaster plan for the older person. This map out what each sibling and family member needs to do
2) Create a disaster team. This would be all adult siblings all over the country, family nearby, caregivers and neighbors.
Share your disaster plan with everyone. “ If the temp goes over 90 – do www.redcross.gov
Include someone on the team who can carry heavy objects like wheelchairs
Name a substitute caregiver if the regular one can’t get there
3) Make an evacuation plan. Where is the nearest shelter, what supplies http://suite101.com/article/disaster-survival-kits-for-disabled-and-elderly-a144832
Do you have on hand? Get list from your local Red Cross or go to http://www.redcross.org/
How many people do you need to make the move to safety?
4) Put all of the above in writing. E-mail copies to everyone on the family disaster team including all adult siblings.
5) Get everyone’s agreement especially midlife siblings and the older person.
For more information, the University of Florida, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy751 Home of Disaster filled hurricanes has a great set of directions.
6) Call a geriatric care manager http://www.caremanager.org/ to manage the plan if you live long distance
Professionals check out the chapter in my Handbook of Geriatric Care Management third edition, http://www.cathycress.com/books on Disaster planning
Professional s Check out my book Care Managers Working With the Aging Family, with it’s chapter on Family Meetings and the Aging Family http://www.cathycress.com/books
My new e book on family meeting will be out this month. Check my web site , http://www.cathycress.com/ for details.