Who is the family caregiver? Often it is the adult sibling who lives closet- but that is often I an adult sibling daughter. It begins with the spouse when both parents alive. The daughter will be the main support of the spouse and the disabled elder, when both parents are living
When one parent dies or both are incapacitated the daughter usually steps up to the plate as the main caregiver. Brothers will help sisters but are usually not the lead caregiver, unless there is no sister. Daughter-in-laws come forward then.
The daughters who care are balancing one hundred plates, with their own children husband’s and work. They often have to rearrange their work schedule or leave work altogether to offer this caregiver support to their parent or parents. With the birth rate dropping and a 100 year trend towards smaller families, the care giving of a parent or parents is resting on fewer and fewer children. In fact the midlife couple is apt to have more parents than children.
Carol Levine, a pioneer in the caregiver assessment movement and a female caregiver herself, points out that the broader view we must take as professionals is that family caregivers are mostly wives, daughters and daughters in law. Most are middle aged. . The majority felt they had no choice but to assume this role. It was not their calling; they felt, but their fate.
A family meeting on caregiving can help this imbalance and increase the quality of care for an elder while helping adult daughter escape resentment about caregiver overload