Some important points for aging professionals, like geriatric care managers , to consider when working with midlife siblings in an aging family crisis, is how the adult siblings seem to be functioning. If there is one adult sibling who is the family caregiver, what is her or his attitude toward aging and an older person’s particular illness (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease)? If the adult sibling caregiver has the attitude that older people are supposed to become demented, then the older person’s behavior will not be seen as a problem to be considered. What motivates the adult sibling and the aging family to care? If the adult sibling caregiver has a full load with a job, marriage, and children, he or she may not be looking for additional problems and deny the problem. How do the adult siblings work as a sibling team? Do the adult sibling members address problems together, or do problems split them apart? Is there domination from a single adult sibling member? Is abuse and threats, implied or real, used to control adult siblings? What do the adult siblings value? Do some value one thing, like keeping an aging parent at home and other believe in placement like a CCRC? Will the family be receptive to your aging professional suggestions?
If the family is receptive to suggestions, you, as an aging professional, can help improve how an adult sibling communicates by modeling the following communication techniques:
l Do not interrupt adult sibling until they have finished speaking.
l Show each adult sibling that he or she has value in the family.
l Show each adult sibling that his or her views are valid.
l Acknowledge to each adult sibling that his or her experience of a situation is valid.
l Encourage family adult siblings to work together to make the load easier for all to bear.
l Realize that adult siblings will make mistakes and that mistakes are acceptable as long as the midlife sibling learns from them.
l Remind adult siblings that it is acceptable for one member to express that he or she has reached their limit of time, emotion or stress.
l Encourage adult sublings to ask each other for help.
l Allow adult siblings to decide whether they can be helpful.
Did you spend Labor Day with midlife siblings and family then wake with a horrible hangover- either from too much booze or just amplified emotional tension that turns you inside out next morning.
Perhaps it involved arguments over aging parent care? If dealing with your siblings gives you a royal headache, the tension may have been made worse by the conflagration of alcohol and /or age old rifts between you and your siblings that started in childhood.
It may be time to look into the roots of your family script.
Did your step, half or blood sibling do something long ago that’s still a weeping wound in your mind? Does it keep you apart or in each other’s faces – – especially awkward- during a holiday gathering when families were flocking together consuming mounds of pot luck food and sharing old stories or recent family news
If the main villain in the family tragedy is a sibling or step sibling or half sibling – here’s a post Labor Day quiz to see if you need help from someone like a Geriatric Care Manager http://www.caremanager.org/
Find out if have a sibling “ I Hate You Story”. Maybe you did not think you needed this test few weeks ago. Post Labor Day – if you know you need the test now- here it is.
Take the test below.
1. Have you told your sibling story more than once to the same person?
2. Do you play the sibling events more than two times in a day in your mind?
3. Do you find yourself speaking to the sibling who hurt you even when the person is not there?
4. Have you made a commitment to yourself to tell the sibling story without being upset then found yourself agitated anyway?
5. Is the sibling who hurt you a central character in your story?
6. When you tell your sibling story does it remind you of other painful things that happened to you?
7. Does the sibling story focus primarily on your pain and what you lost?
8. In your sibling story is there a villain?
9. Have you made a commitment not to tell the sibling story again and then broken your vow?
10. Do you look for other people with similar sibling problems to tell your story to?
11. Has your sibling story stayed the same over time?
12. Have you checked the details of your sibling story for accuracy?
If you answer yes to five or more the questions, there is a good chance you have a sibling I Hate You “ story. To end brother or sister blood step or half sibling blood feud and make peace makes forgiveness as a gift to you.
Try change of season resolution and welcome autumn by taking the – ten steps to sibling forgiveness to heal yourself and hopefully make the next holiday, sometimes the dreaded Thanksgiving with siblings will be spent hangover free.
Watch My You Tube Channel to find out more about a sibling “ I Hate You Story”