Like a draining hourglass, time is running out on the aging family stage. If severed ,the midlife sibling connection to help aging parents has finite time left.
The midlife family’s play will run only so long before the curtain closes. Death stalks the cast and will pick off the characters one by one and someday shut down the performance. Vulnerable to that drawn curtain, it is important for midlife siblings resolve brother and sister breaches before a chronic illness or sudden death takes a parent then the sibling and leaves them none but regret.
Midlife brothers and sisters can come through for us in a million ways. If we move, they are the family members who most frequently help us pack, drive the U-Haul, and give a hand in the upheaval. When we retire with sheet cakes and cheap champagne, the biggest toasters can be siblings.
If elderly parents are moving, downsizing or relocating to warmer climates, siblings are there to help us parcel out family treasures, sort out the collected furniture and decades of junk, working with us as a team to help get our parents to the new location.
Siblings are stellar partners in this sometimes-overwhelming adult child task. If we become disabled or are ill, that sibling air mattress can reflate on a dime, and brothers and sisters are among the first people we can call in a health care crisis, to do everything from going on the web to find resources to coming to our home and nursing us back to health.
A potential victim of that emptying hourglass, forgiveness is crucial as we age. If the sand runs out before ruptures are repaired, the warped family pattern just appears in the next generation. Passing on impoverished sibling models deals a bad hand of family desolation to the next generation, passing on hurt, rage, resentment, and unsutured gashes.
As care coordinators, Aging Life or Geriatric care managers can stitch these brother and sister wounds back together, by referring to counselors and MFT who specialize in aging.
Find out more about midlife sibling in my Handbook of Geriatric Care Management 4th edition in the Nearly Normal and Dysfunctional Family Chapters.